MERRIAM, Kan. - Swedish furniture retailer IKEA announced plans Thursday to demolish a vacant Johnson County strip mall and build its 39th U.S. store on the site.
The store, which will replace the Merriam Village shopping mall on the southeast corner of Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive, will break ground in summer 2013 and open by fall of 2014, company officials said at a news conference. The new store will employ about 350 employees.
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Merriam Village was completed in 2008 and has sat mostly vacant since it was built, except for seasonal Halloween stores.
A brand new Circuit City was supposed to be the anchor tenant. Signs were hung, lights were turned on, but the store never opened.
IKEA officials called the Kansas City area a "super-regional draw," hoping to draw customers from not only Kansas and Missouri, but Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas as well.
RELATED | New IKEA store in Merriam expected to be a Midwest draw http://bit.ly/QZ2RmI
The two-story store will encompass 350,000 square feet and have 1,200 parking spots (with covered parking available below the building).
Merriam's mayor Ken Sissom says the new store will have a major economic impact on the Kansas City area, "When this building gets put up here it's going to be sitting high up. It will be very visible from the Interstate and will be a shining star on the hill not only for Merriam, but Johnson County and the Kansas City area as a whole", he said.
Merriam city streets to benefit from new IKEA store http://bit.ly/QZ30Xr
The idea of an IKEA in Kansas City isn't a brand new one. In March, a Facebook page was launched titled " Bring Ikea to Kansas City " and had just under 9,000 ‘likes' as of early Thursday morning.
It wasn't immediately clear who the administrator of the page was.
The news has been a huge hit in Kansas City. It quickly became the most popular story on KSHB.com and Facebook users were quick to comment and 'like' our post on Facebook.com/kshbtv .