It's Official: IKEA Not Coming to Nearby Somerville
The Swedish furniture giant has pulled plans for its store in Assembly Square.
IKEA has officially decided not to build a store in Somerville's Assembly Square.
In a letter addressed to Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, the furniture giant informed the city Thursday that it would not proceed with plans for a Somerville location near Charlestown's Sullivan Square. (You can read the letter to the right.)
"We have made the very difficult decision not to pursue the construction of a Somerville store," the letter reads.
Plans for the Somerville store started about 15 years ago, but Thursday's news did not come as a surprise.
The Swedish company had previously stated its store in Stoughton took a lot of pressure off needing to build one in Somerville.
In the letter to Curtatone, Doug Greenholz, U.S. real estate manager with IKEA, wrote, "Based on the regional draw of IKEA, we have concluded that the immediate needs of our Boston-area customers currently are being served effectively by the existing Stoughton store and that a second Boston-area location (including one in Somerville) is not needed for the foreseable future."
One big question is what happens to IKEA's land in Assembly Square.
"We will begin considering other non-IKEA options for the land, with the intent of selling it," the letter says.
The Boston Globe reports that Federal Realty Investment Trust, the company that is developing Assembly Row on large parcels of land adjascent to IKEA's land, might be interested in buying IKEA's 12-acre plot.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Curtatone said, "We anticipate that there will be considerable interest in this prime parcel, which will now be developed in accordance with the same transit-oriented, mixed-use, smart-growth principles that characterize Federal Realty’s approach at Assembly Row and—more important—that reflect our community’s vision of the way the entire district should be developed."
The mayor continued, "We’re sorry to lose IKEA as a partner, and they’ve been very responsible landholders, but frankly, I think we’re going to end up with something even better.”
On Twitter, @WhatIsAssembly, Assembly Row's Twitter account, had this to say about the news: "Did you hear the news? IKEA is not coming to Somerville. We enjoyed working with them and wish them the best, but..."
In his statement Curtatone pointed to "retailers, restaurants and entertainment businesses, office and residential developers" who might be interested in the land.
"[T]he City will exercise its authority under the Assembly Square district zoning to ensure that any buyer of the IKEA site will develop uses even more consistent with our zoning regulations than the IKEA big box would have been," the mayor said.
IKEA's letter also said of the land, "It is a great location in a great city, and we want to do our part to ensure that its future use benefits the Somerville community. To this end, we will work with key parties to ensure any proposed alternate use for the site is consistent with the city and developer's shared vision."
Last summer, the furniture store received an extension on its building permits, but that extension was due to be up in August.