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ABig-box grows in Brooklyn: Ikea brings its brand of Swedish home furnishings to first New York City store


NEW YORK —After six long years of effort, Ikea can finally say: “Fuggedaboutit, we’re open in Brooklyn.” The 346,000-square-foot unit, the 35th the Swedish company has opened in the United States, marks its entrance into New York City and is as unique an operation as the company has going in the world.

The six years included dealing with local, state and federal law-makers as the company built on what had once been an industrial waterfront in the Red Hook neighborhood. The building process and the location are responsible for much of what makes the store unique. Behind the store is a 6.5-acre esplanade on New York Harbor that includes a pier for strolling and four refurbished cranes recalling the area’s past. Unlike most Ikea stores, which use all available space for merchandising, the Brooklyn store offers picture windows—including two in the store restaurant—that provide views of the harbor, lower Manhattan and directly across to the Statue of Liberty.

The Brooklyn unit includes an approximately 70,000-square-foot green space on the roof to moderate its local environmental impact and an 88,000-square-foot array of solar panels to help reduce its global environmental impact. As a result of those and other sustainability elements, Ikea is seeking silver LEED certification for the building.

Ikea spokesman Joe Roth said, despite rumors exaggerating its size, the Brooklyn Ikea is the third biggest among the company’s four New York-area units, and consistent with the latest generation of stores. The company’s store in Paramus, N.J., is the largest in the metropolitan New York area at 375,000 square feet.

Merchandising is set to fit the New York market. It includes three home vignettes, including a fully-furnished 590-square-foot apartment, representing, more or less, a typical Big Apple living space that boasts clever space-saving elements. The waterfront location also facilitates a unique transportation mode serving the store—regular and subsidized Water Taxi service from Manhattan. Also available are home delivery and a messenger service for small items, two passing bus lines, a shuttle from nearby subway stations and Zipcar service.

While it might seem the unit would serve singles primarily, Brooklyn’s Ikea includes child care and play areas in store, and even serves baby food in the restaurant. “We’re very family friendly,” said store manager Mike Baker.

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