Ikea kills plan to build 330K sf big box store in Ontario

Home furnishing giant and city at odds over pivot toward a distribution center

Ikea's Jesper Brodin with aerial of Inland Empire Boulevard
Ikea's Jesper Brodin with aerial of Inland Empire Boulevard (Getty, Google Maps)

Ikea has ditched plans to build a 330,000-square-foot big box store in Ontario and replace it with a distribution warehouse – which the city doesn’t want. 

The Netherlands-based home furnishings giant has scrapped plans to build the megastore on land it owns on Inland Empire Boulevard across from Ontario International Airport, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported. But the city won’t let it build the warehouse.

The budget chain known for its build-it-yourself kits announced four years ago it planned to open the store along Interstate 10 on 19 acres it bought at the Meredith International Centre, a project encompassing industrial, multifamily, retail and auto dealership uses.

But the company pivoted during the pandemic and wants to build a distribution warehouse instead, city officials said.

“During COVID they understandably realized that their business model had changed and they felt it was more appropriate at that site to do e-commerce and have it as an industrial facility,” Jennifer McLain Hiramoto, Ontario’s executive director of economic development, told the Daily Bulletin.

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“And (the property) is not zoned for that and we did not feel like it was an appropriate use of that site.”

The city and company are now at an impasse. Ikea owns the land and has made no announcements about what it plans to do next.

Last week, Ikea announced it would expand in the U.S. by 17 stores on the back of a $2 billion investment from Ingka Holding BV, the largest owner and operator of Ikea outlets. The stores are expected to open over the next three years, adding to Ikea’s portfolio of 51 stores and two plan-and-order hubs.

— Dana Bartholomew

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