Published Monday, July 14, 2014 | 8:16 a.m.
Updated Monday, July 14, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.
Ikea will open its first store in the Las Vegas market in the summer of 2016 at Sunset Road and Durango Drive near the 215 Beltway, company officials announced today.
"Bringing a bit of Sweden to Nevada," a company spokesperson said.
Ikea's announcement, made at the Clark County government offices, is welcomed news to fans of the assemble-it-yourself furniture retailer. For county leaders, announcement is a sign of civic pride.
"Clark County is moving up to the next level," said Steve Sisolak, the county commission chairman.
The store will be 351,000 square feet with 1,300 parking spaces over 26 acres. It will provide 300 full- and part-time jobs. And, yes, the store will also have Swedish meatballs
The land where the Ikea store is proposed is owned by Las Vegas-based SDSW2 LLC, which purchased the property for $20 million in 2010, according to county property records.
Ikea's international growth
Ikea, founded by Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden in 1943, opened its first U.S. store in 1985 in a Philadelphia suburb. Two years ago, the chain said it would double the pace of its store openings by 2020 to expand its presence in the United States and China. It now has 38 stores in the U.S.
Ikea in Vegas
Today, company officials said they had been eyeing the Las Vegas market for a decade. They look for markets with 2 million people, and Las Vegas had been hovering around the minimum market size. When they found a lot big enough, company officials said, they made their move.
But the announcement has been a long time coming for Ikea fans, developers and economic development leaders.
During a debate over Nevada taxes in 2010, developer Rich Worthington said he wined and dined Ikea officials to recruit them to Las Vegas. He said the company liked Nevada's tax structure and low operating costs. But Ikea didn't immediately put a store in Las Vegas, Worthington said, because the education level here was too low. “Ikea said our percent of college graduates was just too low and they found they didn’t do well in that kind of market,” Worthington said in a Las Vegas Sun story.
One company, ModernLV, popped up to serve Ikea shoppers by making trips to nearby stores and delivering the modern furniture back to Las Vegans. ModernLV even hosted a release party for the Ikea catalog.
In 2011, the Las Vegas Weekly asked its readers "What Las Vegas really needs?" One of the top answers: Ikea.
In making its announcement today, the company said it already has 101,000 customers in the Las Vegas area. It's closest stores to Las Vegas are in Covina, Calif., Tempe, Ariz., and Draper, Utah,