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Ikea Withdraws Plan for Giant Store

February 1, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ Home furnishing retailer Ikea withdrew plans for a giant store in a New York City suburb after months of intense opposition by residents, clergy and politicians.

Opposition to the planned 308,000-square-foot store was based primarily on concerns over increased traffic in a mostly residential area of New Rochelle. Several dozen homeowners and businesses on the 15-acre site also would have been forced to move.

Ikea spokesman Jim Gdula said Wednesday that the company couldn’t justify the cost and complications of building ramps from the adjacent highway directly into the store’s parking lot.

``It’s a disappointment. We think it’s a great place to do business, but we’ve got to put our resources where they’ll be used most effectively,″ Gdula said.

New Rochelle Mayor Timothy Idoni said his city of 70,000 would have received about $30 million in sales taxes over the next 10 years.

``While I’m disappointed that the project didn’t move forward, we’ve gained an awful lot of valuable information that will aid us in revitalizing that neighborhood,″ Idoni said.

Other area politicians weren’t as wistful.

``I think Ikea bit off more than they could chew,″ said Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe. ``They didn’t realize how sophisticated and single-minded the residents were in their opposition.″

Also opposing the store was the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C., group that opposes government-sanctioned commercial development that requires homeowners to move, a practice known as eminent domain.

``Eminent domain should only be used for roads, post offices and other public projects, not for a furniture retailer,″ said Institute for Justice senior attorney Scott Bullock.


On the Net:

Ikea: http://www.ikea-usa.com

New Rochelle: http://www.newrochelleny.com

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