IKEA Reportedely Headed to Nearby Location

ikea middle tennessee
photo from IKEA

We at the Source had a feeling it would not be in Williamson County when rumors heated up last summer about IKEA looking for a Nashville-area location, experts had good reason to see our county as an unlikely choice.

But, still, IKEA fans will be happy to hear that the popular Swedish furniture giant, according to a number of reports, will announce tomorrow its plans to open a location in Antioch.

The Tennessean reports that IKEA will open a location in Antioch off Interstate 24. Specifically, moving into the Century Farms mixed-use property there.

Antioch, per the Tennesseean report, was picked over sites near the airport, downtown, and Bellevue.

There have been rumors about a Mid-Tennessee IKEA ever since the company announced in 2014 that it would open a Memphis location.

The company, the Source reported last July, was looking for a location somewhere along interstates 65, 40 or 24. New IKEA locations usually cover 25 to 35 acres of land and contain 250,000 to 400,000 square feet. The process can take years. IKEA spent a decade deciding on a site in St. Louis, for example. Rumors first surfaced about a potential Nashville-area location about five years ago.

But for several reasons, Williamson County did not seem to be a possibility for an IKEA store.

The important things a retailer like IKEA looks for are: highway visibility, vicinity to a major interchange and easy and open ingress and egress, according to Austin Benedict, senior associate at CBRE Nashville’s Retail Services Group, said. Williamson County does not really have land like that available- at least not in retail, nor at the price that IKEA would like to pay.

Williamson County offers prime real estate.

“Williamson County is great, and this might sound like a funny analogy but you can think of markets the same way you think of restaurants,” Benedict said. “Typically, restaurants count on getting two rushes a day- say, breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner. Occasionally you get a concept that hits all three meals- the Southern for instance, in downtown Nashville, hits all three. Williamson County is successful for the same reason: People wake up there, they stay there, they circulate through during the day as well as you have people who stay at home during the day. Whereas Murfreesboro, for instance, has plenty of night-time population but around breakfast people leave, and lunch they are gone.”

However, IKEA does not necessarily need a “three-meal” location for a Nashville-area store.

“Simply being in middle-Tennessee will make IKEA successful- people will come find it,” Benedict said.

Williamson County, moreover, does not need IKEA.

“The opportunity cost for Williamson County would be very high. If I was going to analyze Franklin as a location for IKEA, the strength is it is close enough to Nashville and Murfreesboro, and other surrounding areas, to satisfy the need of the number of rooftops and college students, however I would say there are a lot of challenges. Namely that Williamson County does not really need IKEA. If they wanted to attract them they would need to make concessions- such as building a road to the site or making tax concessions that do not necessarily benefit it in the long run. Currently, it can fill its locations without making such concessions.”

The company has 390 stores in 48 countries, with 43 U.S. locations.

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