In its quest to make its moderately priced furniture more readily available to apartment dwelling Manhattanites, IKEA recently got approval from a New York City council panel to build a store in Red Hook along the Brooklyn waterfront.
It's slated to open by fall of next year, says IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth of his company's first store in the city. Roth estimates that the big box will boost the Brooklyn neighborhood's economy by creating much-needed tax revenue and by providing 500 to 600 jobs, with hiring priority going to Red Hook residents.
Opposing developers argued that the proposed 22-acre development — featuring an estimated 1,300 surface parking spaces — would create a concrete jungle on precious waterfront property. A previously proposed mixed-use development by Baltimore-based Struever Brothers, Eccles and Rouse Inc. that would have included a promenade with hidden parking lost out. Struever Bros' president, Bill Struever, wasn't available for comment on the IKEA win.
To assuage the traffic worries of many Brooklyn residents, the Swedish furniture powerhouse plans to implement a free weekend ferry service from Manhattan that will dock at a pier right in front it. “We have a shuttle service from Port Authority to our Elizabeth location that works very well,” says Roth. “I think people will find it pretty convenient.”