San Francisco’s downtown corridor has spent a lot of time in the spotlight lately, mostly for the wrong reasons. Dozens of stores have either left or plan to leave due to theft and other criminal activity.
But furniture company IKEA plans to buck that trend by opening a store there on August 23.
The familiar blue and yellow signs have already been posted for some time at 945 Market Street, where the company will soon occupy three floors.
“I’m excited because we don’t have one around here,” says Nyrah Allen Home, a San Francisco resident.
But few people are more excited than SF Supervisor Matt Dorsey, whose district houses the new store.
“The folks at IKEA, I think, agree with me that San Francisco is poised for a comeback,” said Dorsey. “And they’re bullish on being a retailer here in San Francisco..”
The store will be the first of its kind in the U.S., according to the company, with a focus on what it calls “small space living.”
At 52,000 feet, the Market Street store will be significantly smaller than traditional IKEA stores in other places around the state. But IKEA’s parent company has said that the upper floors of the building will eventually become a co-working space with a food hall.
While the announcement has many excited, it’s also meeting with some skepticism from people who live and work in the neighborhood.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a bunch of business, I don’t think so. Because a lot of people don’t like being in this area because of all the drugs and everything that’s going on, so, I don’t know.” said Tippany Jackson, who works in the neighborhood.
“They need security to keep the guy that’s crapping in the corner out, you know,” said Sabra Hart, a San Francisco resident.
The store does plan to have private security at the doors and loss prevention workers throughout the store, according to an IKEA news release.
The area has seen a run of other retailers leaving, including the Nordstroms in the nearby Westfield Mall and an Old Navy Store which is planning to move to a smaller space in a different neighborhood.
Dorsey acknowledged the on-going issues in the neighborhood as well as other concerns.
“Aside from some of the safety challenges and reputation issues that San Francisco has, there’s also a lot of street construction, “ he said. “There’s a better Market Street plan that’s going on right now.”
But he hopes that IKEA will be a key partner in helping to revitalize the struggling neighborhood.