An IKEA furniture store should be under construction in Fort Worth. What happened?

IKEA in Grand Prairie
IKEA in Grand Prairie

When IKEA officials and Fort Worth leaders announced in February 2017 that one of the iconic Swedish furniture stores would be built in the thriving far north part of the city, they said the doors would open to customers by summer 2019.

They also said construction would begin this spring.

Well, spring is almost over, yet it doesn't appear that the first shovel of dirt has turned at the planned IKEA location near the southwest corner of Interstate 35W and North Tarrant Parkway — not far from the I-35W/U.S. 287 interchange and just south of the fledgling Presidio Junction development.

Officially, the store is still scheduled to open sometime in 2019, said Robert Sturns, Fort Worth economic development director. But he acknowledged that some ongoing discussions between developers and city officials about the design of the new shopping area could cause a delay in the start of construction.

Sturns stressed that the timing of the store opening is up to IKEA, and any official word about possible changes to the opening date should come from the company. IKEA officials didn't return calls and emails seeking comment.

"We are working on some transportation access issues," Sturns said, adding that the area in question involves city-owned right-of-way.

Part of the construction plan includes the extension of a roadway south of where Tehama Ridge Parkway currently dead-ends (near the In-N-Out Burger). Also, the original design didn't include a driveway from the southbound I-35W access road.

The Swedish company opened a location in Frisco in 2005, and its second North Texas location in Grand Prairie opened late last year.

“This proposed Fort Worth store would complement our Dallas-area presence in Frisco and ... Grand Prairie by bringing the unique family-friendly shopping experience even closer to customers in the western part of the Metroplex,” Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president, said in a press release last year.

IKEA is asking the city for economic incentives for the project, which includes other property in the same area. Up to $18 million in sales taxes could be rebated to the project, which is being managed by a limited partnership known as NTP35.

The incentive would begin in 2021 and be paid over 15 years, Sturns has said. The developer would have to spend a minimum $100 million on the project.

The developer would have to spend 30 percent of the money on hard construction costs with Fort Worth companies, and 25 percent of that would need to be with Fort Worth minority- and women-owned businesses.

The Fort Worth store will boast nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area and a 325-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries, IKEA officials have said.

More than 250 employees would work there.

IKEA has more than 390 stores in 48 countries, including 43 in the U.S.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson

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