Make us your home page
Instagram

Ikea thinks inside the box with housing venture

You've got to love Ikea's chutzpah, or whatever word they use to suggest presumptuousness on the 55th parallel.

After seducing millions of 20-somethings with its assemble-it-yourself white wood, stainless steel and plastic furnishings, the Swedish furniture giant is offering itself as a north-woods elixir for a real estate market gone mad.

Ikea's "BoKlok" subsidiary, a joint venture with Swedish construction giant Skanska, is ratcheting up sales of prefabricated, timber-frame homes starting at 500 square feet. In my book, that's barely large enough to set up Snoopy and Lassie in domestic doggy bliss. But thousands of Europeans swear by their chic, bleak boxes.

Ikea's selling point is affordability, but let's be clear that we're talking about a land-squeezed European's sense of affordability.

Realty company Coldwell Banker reminded us this week how much a typical-sized American suburban home costs Irishmen, Spaniards or Dutchmen. A 2,200-square-foot house costs well north of a million dollars in many major European cities. One of the most expensive markets was Bucharest, Romania. So when you hear a Swedish BoKlok home costs close to $200,000 for a one-bedroom or $325,000 for a three-bedroom, the reaction might just be "I'll take two, please."

We won't have to worry about Vikings dominating our housing market — yet. Ikea opens its Tampa superstore next year, but BoKlok is not yet part of the company's U.S. expansion plans.

I say let Ikea try its hand at the hammer. Sears used to sell "kit homes" from catalogs for a few hundred bucks a pop 100 years ago. Many of those homes still stand. Lowe's entered the same do-it-yourself market as part of the post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction. The chain's "Katrina Cottages" are supposed to withstand 140 mph gusts.

Lowe's will sell you most of the materials to build a house for as little as $30,000. (But you'll have to supply labor, land, the slab, and heating and air conditioning. Try living without the blessings of Freon in the Louisiana bayous.)

Maybe in 10 years we'll stroll down Ligonberry Lane or Eric Bloodaxe Boulevard. You can only stomach so many Alhambra Terraces and Windemere Circles.

Ikea thinks inside the box with housing venture 09/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa

    Retail

    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  2. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel

    Business

    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

    The owners of Skeleton Key Marina in Hudson have filed preliminary plans with Pasco County to redevelop the site into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.
  3. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  4. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone

    Macdill

    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  5. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans



    Business

    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.