IKEA will not confirm the rumor that they'll open a store in St. Louis, but a spokesman told Daily RFT that rumors "may be based on fact."
"We have nothing new to report," says IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth. "Contrary to what other people may have said, we have not confirmed or announced anything."
Roth acknowledged that whispers of a new IKEA have been floating around St. Louis for years, but said that this time: "Some of it may be based on fact, but we have not confirmed anything."
That's the closest the Swedish retailer has ever come to saying yes to St. Louis.
Updated at 2 p.m. with comment from IKEA.
St. Louis development blog Next STL says an IKEA store is finally -- finally! -- coming to St. Louis.
IKEA itself has not confirmed the news, so Daily RFT is hesitant to get its hopes up. We've been here before.
"Over the past six months, the Swedish retailer and local representative Pace Properties have been focused on making the central city site work, now it's official," Ihnen posts on the blog. " No timetable has been made available, but once the project breaks ground, it's expected to take approximately 18 months to complete."
See also: Will St. Louis Actually Get an IKEA?
Ihnen's blog Next STL -- the Riverfront Times' 2013 winner for Best Blog -- tends to have its finger directly on the pulse of the St Louis real estate scene, especially when it comes to IKEA.Fair warning: The "IKEA is coming to St. Louis!" story floats around every six months or so. Before you start dreaming of Swedish meatballs, Daily RFT suggests you take Bob's advice:
Calm down, #STL. While I would be happy to see Ikea in St. Louis, let's remember how many times we've been burned by Ikea rumors before.— The Bob (@BobEll) November 27, 2013
St. Louis' IKEA store will be larger than the 359,000 square-foot store now being built in Merriam, Kansas, Ihnen writes, and the location is just three miles from city hall and adjacent to Saint Louis University.
"The good news for the city isn't about needs-assembly furniture or cheap meatballs," Ihnen says. "It's about the presence of a $100 million annual sales retailer, the estimated one million shoppers and 400 employees the single store will bring."
IKEA is eyeing a property called CORTEX, founded in 2002 by St. Louis' major universities and the Missouri Botanical Garden to attract life science companies, Ihnen says. Officially blighted by a city ordinance in 2005, the complex is now home to a few companies and research labs.
"St. Louis is hot and the re-invention of the central corridor appears to just be the beginning," Ihnen says. "The larger story isn't about a furniture store. It's about a shift in development towards the city."
St. Louisans have been desperate for an IKEA for years. Next STL crashed minutes after Ihnen shared the big announcement.
Is it possible that @nextSTL has been crashed with fans of IKEA rushing to read the story about the location in St Louis?— MARTIN CASAS (@MARTIN_CASAS) November 27, 2013