Councilman Tommy Smigiel spoke to this exciting news on his Facebook page early this morning.
“Yes, IKEA is coming to Norfolk and Hampton Roads!” he wrote. “We can officially say it now.”
According to reporting by The Pilot’s Eric Hartley — who has been all over this story — given IKEA’s typical construction schedule, doors might not be open until 2019 or so.
“This is one of the fun things about being on city council,” Smigiel wrote. “To know this for a few months and to not be able to say anything has been tough. I am excited about this project and I will have more details later.”
Currently the nearest IKEA is a journey away in Woodbridge.
IKEA is a fascinating company. You know all about the meatballs and the step-by-step instructions. Did you know they have an entire product line made from waste like glass and plastic bottles? Did you know that they’re trying to revolutionize small scale “hydroponic” sustainable farming for restaurants? Have you checked out their “Life at Home Report,” which asks, “What actually makes a home a home? And what makes us feel at home somewhere?”
The reports’ conclusion is awfully Zen for a company that, as of August 31, 2014, had 315 stores in 27 countries:
“To truly understand what makes a home, we must view the home as a never-ending, constantly changing idea.”
If the responses on Smigiel’s post are any indication, I think this IKEA just may find a customer or two here in Hampton Roads.
“SO HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! … Can I just have a little apartment inside IKEA!”
Cities tend to get pumped for IKEA along with the residents.
“[IKEA moving to town] can have a significant impact for cities looking to attract people and corporations that are examining the quality of life and vibrancy of a community and region for possible relocation,” said Jerry Mallot, President of JAXUSA, part of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, in regards to their IKEA dreams.
You don’t need me to tell you this, but this is fairly major, both for shoppers, fall-out economic impact — this will greatly help the new outlet mall — and in the perception of Norfolk and Hampton Roads from beyond our borders.
Hallå, IKEA! Welcome!
Update: According to Smigiel, the Norfolk IKEA is slated to open Summer 2018, with 300 permanent jobs and 500 construction jobs to get it there.
There are estimates of $2.5 million in annual tax revenue, but it remains to be seen how many taxpayer dollars and resources the City of Norfolk shelled out to make this deal happen. None of these situations are simple. Here is an interesting article from Memphis Magazine, for context: What It Really Cost to Bring IKEA to Memphis.