We are in keeping with the Ikea philosophy: We don’t want to produce for the rich or the super-rich; we want to produce for the families, for the people,” says Harald Müller, the head of LandProp
A couple of months ago I carbon copied an email I sent to Kathy Boerner of Ikea to Alderman Pat Dowell. My suggestion to Ms. Boerner was that Ikea build a mini version of its super big stores at 39th Street and the Dan Ryan. I was spurred to do this because of a business plan written by a graduate student about the plans for Ikea to build 25 new stores in the U.S. That’s pretty tough to do when you need acres and expressway access (the Ikea format). The grad student suggested a smaller version as an expansion model. What better place to start this than on land next to the expressway and in proximity to University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Illinois. According to the grad student report, college students are big Ikea buffs. I guess Alderman Dowell liked the idea because her office shot back a request for my contact information. I haven’t heard from them recently but I’m hopeful. In the meantime Ikea has reentered my stream of conscious and my overall desire to beef up my home base of Bronzeville. This time I’m attempting to get two Bronzeville Alderman to the table to parlay, Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward and Alderman Will Burns of the 4th. Why?
Ikea is into building cities through LandProp and Harald Müller has stolen my heart, figuratively. Ikea will be building a town in a corner of London. The town is to be situated on 11 hectares of a once disheveled tract of property. Disheveled, practically empty land, we got it in Bronzeville and we have more than an 11 hectare plot. Eleven hectares is approximately 27 acres. Bronzeville has 37 such acres sitting and looking forlorn after we didn’t get the Olympics, Michael Reese campus. So, Alderman Burns what about seeking an audience with the Mayor and getting a delegation to talk up an Ikea town in Chi-town? Thirty-seven acres of new mixed use, mixed income community would do a great deal for our community.
Oh and by the way, Alderman Dowell we don’t intend to leave you out of this picture. Ikea will not be building a store in the planned community in London. That pretty much leaves the 3rd ward Ikea store a great idea coupled with a 4th ward Ikea village right down the street and all those college students!