19 July 2012

What's Not in Store

Boston-area residents in need of cheap furniture are going to have to continue driving to Stoughton: it was announced today that the long-promised, quasi-mythical (can a retail store be considered vaporware?) Somerville IKEA will not be happening, according to the Boston Globe.

It's been well over a decade since IKEA purchased property between the Assembly Square shopping center and the Mystic River. If I remember correctly, the original proposal had the store opening in 2001. At the time I lived within walking distance and was quite excited at the prospect, but after years of delays I began to wonder if the store would ever be built.

After my first experience visiting an IKEA in Virginia in 1991, I desperately wanted to earn enough money to have my own apartment and furnish it entirely from there. But the longer we waited for the Somerville store, the less its existence came to matter to me. IKEA became less of a novelty, and at the same time I grew up and my tastes changed.

If I do want or need something from IKEA, the Stoughton store is about a 30-minute drive from our house. It's still a useful store for inexpensive household items, and I've had this gigantic aerial photo of the Flatiron Building in New York bookmarked for a couple of years now. (It's almost five feet high by six and a half feet wide.)

When the adjacent mixed-use Assembly Row project started construction earlier this year, along with the future Orange Line stop, and no mention was made of the IKEA project, I suspected the worst. According to the story, IKEA will look to sell the property, and with the other activity already underway on the adjacent sites, I imagine it won't be too difficult.

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