Make us your home page
Instagram

With movement of shovels, Ikea inches closer

YBOR CITY — The field of dirt featured no sparkling showrooms, no cafeteria with Swedish meatballs, no stylish furniture to buy.

Yet Claire Pustarfi, Kelly Hickman and Charlene Beverly were giddy over the possibilities as they scurried across a dusty lot to attend Wednesday's Ikea store groundbreaking ceremony.

"I've been waiting for this for 17 years," said Pustarfi, 52, who used to shop at Ikea in New York before moving to Tampa. "I even took the day off work to be here. For 17 years, every time I've driven by an empty lot, I think, 'That would be a great place for an Ikea.' "

And now the Sweden-based home furnishing store, which will be south of Ybor City off Adamo Drive, is becoming a reality as it builds toward a summer 2009 opening date. Politicians, Ikea representatives and future shoppers flocked to the empty field and packed into a small air-conditioned tent to celebrate what Mayor Pam Iorio called "a great day in Tampa."

"People are going to come from all over to shop here," she said.

Why all the frenzy?

For starters, City Council member Tom Scott pointed out, the 353,000-square-foot store (the largest of three in Florida) is expected to create 400 jobs. The store offers full-time benefits to employees working as little as 20 hours per week.

There are already an estimated 100,000 Ikea customers in the Tampa Bay area, according to Ikea's public affairs director, Joseph Roth. They may drive to the Orlando store or shop by catalog. Iorio said she hopes Ybor City restaurants and shops will get spillover business from Ikea.

For people like Pustarfi, the store represents a luxury that she's wanted in her city for years.

"I can walk into an Ikea and love every single thing I see," she said. "What other store can you say that about?"

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

With movement of shovels, Ikea inches closer 06/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2008 10:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  2. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]