IKEA decides it likes the west end after all; the North Service Road didn't make sense financially and the property fit was all wrong as well.

By Pepper Parr

February 19, 2014


After a CLOSED SESSION of city council Tuesday evening the city puts out a press release saying IKEA Canada has announced the retailer will not relocate to a proposed site at Walker’s Line and the North Service Road but will stay at its Plains Road East location.

The property to the left was to be home for a newer and bigger IKEA with great visibility along the QEW. More parking space, more retail space and more head office space.  Not on this location.

 “We were planning to relocate the existing store,” said Paul Ekelschot, properties manager with IKEA. “However, IKEA has assessed that the site is not the best solution for our needs and that we will continue to provide our valued customers with a great shopping experience in the current location at this time.” 

Came to the conclusion that it couldn’t be made to work is a better explanation.

This property is still for sale. With IKEA out of the picture the Hopewell people will be looking fr a buyer. Gonna take a while.

City hall says:  “IKEA began working with the City of Burlington and other agencies, including Conservation Halton, Halton Region and the Ministry of Transportation, in 2011 to start the process of rezoning and approvals linked with relocation to the North Service Road location.”

 They add that: “City staff worked with staff from the provincial Ministry of Transportation to determine the necessary road improvements required to accommodate the city’s growth projections and to ensure the continued safe and efficient operation of the Walker’s Line/QEW interchange.”

They don’t say how much the city spent on trying to make this opportunity work.

 “While much hard work has gone into preparing a site for the relocation, that work is not in vain,” said Scott Stewart, the city’s general manager of development and infrastructure. “We have created a solid scenario for future economic development at Walker’s Line and the North Service Road.” 

Stewart’s got to say something to account for the time spent on this project.  The reality of the site was pretty clear to anyone who drove along the North Service Road – it isn’t anywhere near wide enough to accommodate the traffic IKEA would create.

The site has some benefits but before much gets done on the North Service Road between Guelph and Appleby – a lot of hard thinking has to be done.  That portion of the city was given the slick marketing moniker of our “Prosperity Corridor”

 Meanwhile, IKEA says that it’s business as usual for shoppers in Burlington where the Plains Road store opened in 1991.

 “We are grateful to the City of Burlington and other government agencies for trying to make this work,” Ekelschot said. “IKEA has a good working relationship with the City of Burlington. We are a proud member of the Burlington business community and our plan is to remain in Burlington.”

Those Swiss meatballs are still on the menu – getting a table on a Saturday morning was the challenge. IKEA needed a move – just didn’t have the right location.

Would Mr. Ekelschot perhaps accept an invoice from the city to cover part of the staff time put in on this project?  The Planning department along with the rest of the senior people at Infrastructure and development might have been wiser to have had  a frank but cordial face to face with the IKEA people back in 2011 and said – guys – this isn’t going to work.

Wonder how this news will fly at the Committee of the While next week when council and city staff meet to discuss the future of the Economic Development Corporation.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven must have felt quite a bit better last night when he drove home from the council meeting – his biggest business was not going to leave town after all.

Background links:

Now we know why IKEA was on the agenda,

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