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IKEA West Palm Beach: Rumor or Fact?

Posted on January 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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Seems there’s loads of speculation this week about new IKEA stores popping up all over. We have two articles lined up for later this week addressing rumors of Midwest IKEAs (Watch this space on Thursday and Friday for articles on IKEA Expansion in the Midwest and Is IKEA Coming to … [My Town]?, plus find out about the top three requested markets next week!) But back to West Palm Beach…is it true? Find out after the jump!

IKEA at Palm Beach Mall?

IKEA at Palm Beach Mall has been a long-standing rumor fueled by reports in the Palm Beach Post. If you believe what you read in the newspapers, IKEA has been planning a store in West Palm at the aging mall formerly owned by Simon Properties (and recently foreclosed upon by ORIX) since at least August of 2008. To quote Alexandra Clough, a Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, in the August 2008 article, Palm Beach Mall’s search for buyers puts redo on hold,

Simon, the nation’s largest mall owner, had planned to launch a massive redevelopment of the 41-year-old mall that includes department stores and a dwindling number of specialty retailers. Plans were to turn the mall into a complex of big-box retailers, plus restaurants and homes. Also planned was a 290,000-square-foot Ikea, the phenomenally popular Swedish home furnishings store, on the western edge of the property.

But IKEA denies ever having plans for an IKEA store at 100-acre-site on West Palm Lakes Boulevard.

Speculation about IKEA West Palm Beach

Speculation abounded for quite a while, and discussions were excitedly undertaken in our forums about the potential of another IKEA in South Florida: IKEA West Palm Beach. When this rumor resurfaced following another article written by Ms. Clough for the Palm Beach Post (Palm Beach Mall reps talking to IKEA, Bass Pro) on January 17, 2010, I decided to get to the bottom of it.

In this most recent article, Ms. Clough states,

Shoppers, take heart: IKEA and Bass Pro Shops might still come to West Palm Beach after all.

Both retailers are part of a new plan to redevelop the old Palm Beach Mall, according to knowledgeable sources.

And both retailers have been specifically pitched to city officials as part of a planned redo of the Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard shopping center. The mall is set to close its interior stores at the end of the month. Only JCPenney, George’s Music and Firestone will remain open.

West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, in her State of the City speech Wednesday, said she’s working with the county on a project that would convert the Palm Beach Mall into a “vibrant combination of big-box retail, office space and restaurants.” Frankel didn’t specify which big-box stores.

But sources say [italics mine] IKEA, the Swedish furniture store, and Bass Pro, the outdoor sports retailer, are seriously interested in the property and are in talks with the mall’s reps.

Both stores, in fact, long have been interested in the 100-acre site. IKEA and Bass Pro are considered “destination” stores, which draw customers from a large geographic area. As a result, both like prime properties visible from highways.

IKEA was part of a redevelopment plan recently envisioned by Simon Property Group, the property’s most recent owner. But the plan fell through with the recession, and the mall went into foreclosure.

no-ikea-at-palm-beach-mallNo Plans for IKEA at Palm Beach Mall

Apparently, the ’sources’ mentioned didn’t extend to IKEA since my inside-IKEA source stated that the “reporter did not reach out to us; do not believe what you read.”

And according to Joseph Roth, US Director of Public Affairs for IKEA,

We did not commit to plans for a store in West Palm Beach — recently or a while ago.  IKEA always is in discussions with cities, developers and brokers about potential opportunities for IKEA stores, but that not does necessarily mean a store is being planned.

We currently do not have plans for a store in West Palm Beach.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news folks! Of course, this doesn’t mean that IKEA will NEVER arrive in West Palm Beach – but these rumors about IKEA at Palm Beach Mall are fueled by false reporting.


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