IKEA Details Plans for City of St. Louis Store

City of St. Louis - IKEA
{rendering of St. Louis IKEA looking southwest from Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenues}

It’s officially officially official. IKEA announced today that they will build a 380K sf store within the CORTEX district at Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenues. The desire to build at this location has been known for some time and late last week came confirmation that the mega-retailer was finally ready to put a stake in the ground.

There were few surprises today as IKEA representatives and city officials thanked the multitude of people involved in making the deal come together. The store will be located against Interstate 64 just west of Vandeventer Avenue and have 1,250 parking spaces, approximately 500 spaces will be at surface level beneath the store’s second level.

The site plan shows surface parking and access driveways fronting Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenues. This is contrary to early CORTEX visions which placed mixed-use buildings along Forest Park. The site is 21 acres, substantially larger than the footprint of either the Atlanta or Minneapolis area IKEA stores.

City of St. Louis - IKEA
{IKEA site plan shows ~700 of the 1,250 parking spaces on a surface lot}

While the stores was announced, remaining hurdles were presented as well. From nine landowners several years ago, the area now has just two; CORTEX and Laclede Gas. As reported here by nextSTL, Laclede Gas has a contract in place to sell to CORTEX. Still, IKEA must navigate the city’s permit process and win approval before it will acquire the land and break ground.

IKEA officials reported that they hope this process can be completed by Summer 2014. If so, the store would be set to open in Fall 2015. It was recently announced the the Kansas City area store would use geothermal heating and cooling as well as other green measures. Such investment is still under consideration for the St. Louis location, according to IKEA. The process remaining could open the opportunity for changes in the site plan, though this appears ulikely.

The IKEA name is big, but the importance of the announcement is the larger trend of CORTEX, retail investment and other nearby projects within the City of St. Louis. From our previous report:

IKEA Coming to the City of St. Louis


In the larger picture, the good news for the city isn’t about needs-assembly furniture or cheap meatballs, it’s the presence of a $100M annual sales retailer, the estimated one million shoppers and 400 employees the single store will bring. And because of the consumer traffic they generate, IKEA stores often attract other retailers. Pace Properties is planning another retail development east of Vandevanter named Midtown Station. That development was first reported here in July. Other development announcements including residential and additional retail is expected to follow soon.

Of course the important shift in development, and retail development into the City of St. Louis, will initially be lost in the fervor over the IKEA name, but the store is locating in the city for a reason. St. Louis is hot and the re-invention of the central corridor appears to just be beginning. The larger story isn't about a furniture store, it's about shift in development towards the city. The city is about to see the same principle of retail momentum play out in the nearby Central West End, as a mixed-use development featuring a 40K sf Whole Foods, the first in the city, will generate traffic and produce sales numbers that will encourage additional investment.

{the Minneapolis area IKEA store uses structured parking to fit on a smaller footprint}

{the Atlanta area IKEA store uses structured parking to fit on a smaller footprint}

CORTEX - St. Louis, MO
{early visioning plans for CORTEX showed big box retail (in red), with significant mixed-use buildings fronting Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues}

Of course the list of large developments in this part of the region is long:

City of St. Louis - IKEA

  1. Center for Emerging Technologies – existing
  2. West End Lofts – existing, residential conversion completed
  3. Brauer Supply Building – existing, to be renovated
  4. 4240 Duncan Building – existing, under renovation
  5. CORTEX I – new construction, completed
  6. BJC @ The Commons – new construction, completed
  7. Solae / Dupont – new construction, completed
  8. 645 Newstead Lab – new construction, completed
  9. Shriners Hospital – new construction, under construction
  10. New I-64 interchange – new, under construction
  11. CORTEX Commons – new, under construction
  12. Mixed-use residential/retail – proposed
  13. Tech incubator
  14. New MetroLink Station – proposed
  15. IKEA – proposed