IKEA set to break ground at future Memphis site

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Swedish retailer IKEA announced the home furnishings store will break ground at the future IKEA Memphis site on the southwest corner of Germantown Parkway and I-40 next Thursday.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell are slated to be in attendance for the groundbreaking Thursday, December 10 at 11 a.m.

Tennessee's first IKEA store is now back on schedule. A property tax dispute with the Shelby County assessor jeopardized the deal after IKEA expressed interest in its future site.

The Board of Equalization then restored the land's value to $1.25 million, and IKEA gave the project the green light again. The 271,000 square-foot store rests on 35 acres in the Wolfchase Corridor along the southwestern side of Interstate-40 near the Germantown Parkway exit. It will be the 43rd IKEA store in the United States.

The Shelby County Assessor Cheyenne Johnson said she does support IKEA coming to Memphis, but says she feels the property is worth more.

Despite the back and forth and delays, Johnson declined our on-camera interview Tuesday, citing the advice of her lawyers, but did tell us she has appealed the value for the property on the state level. A hearing has not been yet been set.

"A lot of times, Memphis loses out on things because of delays such as this," said Knight.

"I was hoping at the end of the day that things would work out, and it looks like they did," said Mayor-elect Jim Strickland. "I know the tax assessor. I know she's a honest person. I know she follows the law, so I was never concerned."

IKEA said the store will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, three model home interiors, 50 room-settings and a 300-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties-- such as meatballs with lingonberries or salmon plates-- and American dishes.

"I love furniture," said resident Mary Knight.

They will also have a 'Children's IKEA' area in the showroom with baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking.

About 225 workers will staff the IKEA store when it opens in the Fall of 2016.

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