Turns out, 2 million was the magic number.
That was the population benchmark for IKEA, which will open its first store in Nevada on 26 acres in southwest Las Vegas in the summer of 2016.
“We’ve been looking here on and off for about 10 years; we’ve had our eyes on Las Vegas,” said Joseph Roth, director of public affairs for Swedish-influenced IKEA. “The population has been hovering around the 2 million mark and now it’s big enough to support a store, and we found a perfect site so it’s perfect synergy and here we are.”
The proposed 351,000 square-foot IKEA store would have nearly 1,300 parking spaces and be built along the northern side of the 215 Beltway at Durango Drive near the intersection with Sunset Road in the Spring Valley area.
“We’re prepared to bring Sweden to Nevada, which is already surrounded by Ikea stores,” Roth added. “We want to bring the shopping experience closer to our customers.”
IKEA is well-known for its build-it-yourself products and blue-and-yellow superstores. Among its stores in 38 U.S. states, the closest stores to Nevada are in Covina, Calif.; Tempe, Ariz.; and Draper, Utah.
Another component of IKEA’s decision to open a new location is finding a site that is between 20 and 30 acres alongside a major highway with easy access to the store, Roth said.
“In Las Vegas we had a good sense of where to look for potential sites; up and down Interstate 15 and the 215,” he said. “It comes down to population numbers, which is what gets us into the market and then we need to find a large enough site that meets our criteria.”
Another IKEA spokesperson said the company plans to close on the purchase of the land by the end of 2014.
The current owner is an entity called SDSW 2 LLC. Secretary of state records show it’s a company affiliated with locally based MJ Dean Construction. MJ Dean owns it and acquired it for $18 million in 2010 out of default.
Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager said 350 jobs will be created during the construction of IKEA and another 300 full- and part-time jobs once the store opens.
The retailer, which was founded in Sweden in 1943 and is headquartered in Leiden, Netherlands, has a brand value of $11.5 billion as of November 2013 and has raked in $35.5 billion in sales, according to Forbes.
Cara Clarke, senior director of communications for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the organization is pleased that IKEA will be opening a Las Vegas store.
“It is a great addition to our marketplace and we look forward to welcoming them to the business community,” she said.
The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance is also looking forward to IKEA making its Nevada debut.
“This is exciting news for our community,” said Tom Skancke, president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to having them in our community. They’ll be a great addition to Southern Nevada’s economy.”
In late June, the company said its U.S. operation would raise the minimum wage for its retail workers by $1.59 to $10.76, a move that will affect about half of IKEA’s U.S. retail employees in the U.S.
All 38 existing U.S. retail locations, as well as IKEA’s three new locations scheduled to open before the end of 2015, will adopt the new structure, the Wall Street Journal reported for a story on its website.
The arrival of an IKEA store means changes for ModernLV, a Las Vegas-based IKEA personal shopping service that now makes weekly trips to IKEA stores in Southern California to bring back merchandise for customers in Southern Nevada, will continue taking orders and making deliveries.
“We see no reason to stop serving Southern Nevadans now,” William Crozer, owner of ModernLV, said in a statement. “Locals do not have to wait until 2016 to get their IKEA products; you can still do so now. ModernLV has been able to complete the ‘last mile’ to Las Vegas for IKEA and its loyal local customers and we look forward to continuing to make our weekly trips until the store opens.”
At least one shopper was elated with the news.
Las Vegas resident Megan Wallace had her first IKEA experience nearly 11 years ago in Newcastle, England, and has since shopped at locations in Connecticut and Arizona.
“I’m so excited to have an IKEA here in Vegas,” she said. “I love the modern and European style of everything, as well as the cheaper pricing and focus on storage and multi-use. It’s a creative and inspiring store. I really enjoy the interaction in the store by seeing how they’ve used the products in a real living room or bedroom.”
The next step, said Brager, is for IKEA to go before the Spring Valley town board in August as well as the board of county commissioners on Sept. 17 in order to gain final approval.
“It’s so nice when we know we’re turning a corner when a company like IKEA chooses us as their next location,” Brager said. “It’s an exciting time in Clark County.”
Review-Journal writer Jennifer Robison contributed to this report. Contact reporter Ann Friedman at email@example.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.