IKEA has shelved plans to build a Fort Worth store. What went wrong?

IKEA Frisco
IKEA Frisco

Plans to build an IKEA furniture store in far north Fort Worth have fallen apart like a dresser assembled without all the necessary screws.

So what happened?

Apparently, the decision by IKEA to shelve its plans for expansion into Fort Worth had little or nothing to do with the city's incentive package or lingering issues over access to the property just north of the Interstae 35W/U.S. 287 "Decatur cutoff."

"It had nothing to do with the property. That was a minor issue," said Robert Sturns, Fort Worth economic development director.

Sturns said city officials didn't know about IKEA's change of heart until Friday.

"They have pulled the plug on the store for now," he said. "It was just really a change in strategy on their part. They are re-assessing their concept. Do they want to continue with this many locations? And, how much will they rely on online sales? It's part of the general landscape everywhere, with everyone trying to deal with how to effectively capture online sales, and how that affects general operations."

IKEA officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Dallas Business Journal reported that IKEA spokeswoman Latisha Bracy said in an email: "While this is an extremely difficult decision, we will not be moving forward with our plans to build a store in Fort Worth."

The Fort Worth store would have been IKEA's third in the Metroplex — along with a location in Frisco that opened in 2005 and one in Grand Prairie that opened last year.

The property developer was NTP35 LP, which is beginning the process for finding a new tenant for the high-visibility location at I-35W and U.S. 287 (the enormous vacant lot south of In-N-Out Burger).

IKEA concept
IKEA Fort Worth artist rendering NTP35 LP

The Swedish furniture store company was offered a city sales tax rebate of up to $18 million. The incentive would have begun in 2021, and would have been paid over 15 years.

Also, the developer would have had to spend a minimum $100 million on the project.

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

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

IKEA has called off plans to expand in several suburb locations in other states, including Arizona, North Carolina and Tennessee, the Denver Business Journal reported.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson
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