Already known for its massive stores, Ikea plans to supersize the local furniture-shopping experience even more by building a new site twice the size of its current Burbank location.
At 470,000 square feet, the proposed Burbank store would be the Swedish retailer's largest in the United States.
"We need the big store now, quite frankly," said Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth. "It's not so much planning for the future as addressing our current situation. The store needs to be updated."
If approved, the new store will sprawl over 22 acres along the Golden State (5) Freeway, west of San Fernando Boulevard and south of Providencia Avenue.
It will be just seven-tenths of a mile from the company's current 242,000 square foot store, also on San Fernando Boulevard, which opened in 1990.
The company submitted its development plans to the city earlier this month, Roth said.
The approval process could take nine months to a year with construction starting sometime in 2015. The project will create between 500 to 1,000 construction jobs, Roth said.
While the current Ikea seems pretty big already to many shoppers, some welcomed the news of an even bigger one on the way. | PHOTOS
"Bring it on," said Dawn Adams of Newhall, who was shopping at the current Ikea Tuesday with a tape measure and notebook in hand.
While she favors the idea of an even-bigger Ikea, the interior designer admits the 242,000 square-foot warehouse store can be daunting.
"It is a little overwhelming to come in here - I get heart palpitations sometimes," Adams quipped. "But these types of places are a destination for a lot of people, so I don't see how a bigger one could be a bad thing."
Alex Mendoza of North Hollywood, who was testing out beds for his new apartment, isn't convinced.
"I feel that building a new Ikea would be a waste because there's nothing wrong with this one," Mendoza said. "I think we're kind of an impatient culture and I don't think we need to feel like we constantly need more and more and more. We should be happy with what we do have - and this place is already huge."
"My mom always says that's the problem with our generation, that bigger means better," Mendoza added. "In this case, I'd agree with her. I'm not convinced bigger would be better. I just don't see the need."
But Stephanie Koenig of downtown Los Angeles, who was shopping for a new kitchen table for her apartment remodel, thinks the larger Ikea will bring more variety.
"I always say, `The bigger the better,"' Koenig said. "I don't care if I get lost."
The new site will have improved access and parking and a larger warehouse space. Ikea currently has to store some merchandise at off-site locations, Roth said. There will be parking for 1,700 cars.
The current Ikea will remain open until the new store is ready in fall 2016, the company said.
"Because of this store's success, we are excited about the opportunity to build upon our established presence in Burbank with a new, roomier store," Ikea U.S. President Mike Ward said in a statement.
The privately held company declined to release financial details of the project, but Roth said, "Obviously it will be tens of millions of dollars by the time you buy the land and build the building."
Ikea, founded in Sweden in 1943, has 330 stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the United States. The world's largest Ikea, at 594,000 square feet, is located outside of Stockholm.
The new Ikea Burbank would stock nearly 10,000 items versus about 8,000 for the current store, Roth said.
It will also feature 50 "inspirational room-settings," three model-home interiors, a supervised children's play area and a larger restaurant for serving Swedish specialties.
Other family-friendly features include a "Children's Ikea" area in the showroom, baby-care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.
There are some moving parts to the deal with the city of Burbank as a result of Gov.
The plan calls for Ikea to buy the 22 acres from Irvine-based Crown Realty & Development Inc. Ikea would sell its current store and the lease rights it owns to to Crown.
Burbank's CRA successor agency would then sell Crown the current 6.4 acre Ikea site and the lease rights it owns.
But that part of the deal must be reviewed by the California Department of Finance.
All parties are confident things will fall into place.
"We are proceeding with that process right now," said Joy Forbes, Burbank's assistant city manager. "The Department of Finance tells us they could conduct the review in about 90 days. It is complicated. The hope is that it will all work out."
Ikea is a big economic engine for the city.
Forbes would not say how much the store produces in sales tax but she said it is one of the city's top 20 revenue generators.
"Not only do we in city government like it but the patrons like it. They love the Burbank location," Forbes said.
Crown Realty Executive Vice President Jim O'Neil said that at this point there are no development plans for Ikea's original site.
But his company is high on Burbank and believes the deal will get done.
"We love Burbank," he said. "Burbank is a great community. It's very business friendly and we're very bullish on the Burbank trade area. It's a good place to do business."