Ikea to open a home furnishing store in Downtown SF

Small-space living shop comes as “a tremendous boost” to city’s retail industry

Ikea to Open a Home Furnishing Store in Downtown SF
Mayor London Breed; Ingka Group’s Jesper Brodin; 945 Market Street (Google Maps, Getty, Linkedin)

Ikea, a global home furnishing company with Swedish roots, is making a big bet on San Francisco’s beleaguered downtown. 

The retailer now based in the Netherlands will open an 85,000-square-foot store at 945 Market Street in South of Market, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A grand opening is set for Aug. 23.

After months of delay, Ikea will open its small-space living and storage shop, to include two Swedish delis, a program to buy back and resell used furniture and home delivery.

The opening of the popular assemble-it-yourself home furnishings store has brought a glimmer of hope to a Downtown filled with empty offices, storefronts and restaurants.

City leaders, business owners and residents hope Ikea can breathe life into a gritty stretch of Market Street. For the city, Ikea means a jolt of confidence. At least one official said it can create a halo effect.

Ikea’s arrival “is a tremendous boost,” declared Mayor London Breed, who has wooed the company since 2018.

“It is a good sign for the city that an international brand with huge name recognition is coming,” Asim Khan, a senior economist in the San Francisco Controller’s Office behind the halo comment, told the Chronicle.

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Ikea had initially planned to open in 2021.

Since Ikea sister company Ingka Centres bought the 250,000-square-foot mall for $198 million in October 2020, the project has faced numerous delays blamed on construction, including a $10.6 million redesign launched last summer, according to the San Francisco Business Times. 

Ingka Centres plans to open the Livate mall next spring with a Nordic food court, shops, restaurants and possibly entertainment, plus a top-floor co-working office tied to Industrious, a New York-based chain of flexible workspaces. Livat, in Swedish, means “lively gathering.” 

The new Downtown mall comes in contrast to the closures of Whole Foods, Coco Republic and the pending closures this month of Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, which cited poor street conditions and property crime as reasons for exiting the market.

The furniture giant is slated to grow by 17 stores in the next three years, fueled by a $2 billion investment from Ingka Holding BV, the largest owner and operator of Ikea stores, adding to Ikea’s portfolio of 51 stores and two plan-and-order hubs.

— Dana Bartholomew

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