Ikea will anchor mixed-use development at I-94 and Drexel

Store will open in summer of 2018

Construction is currently underway at Ikea in Oak Creek.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:03 pm

Popular furniture retailer Ikea will be the anchor of a large mixed-use development on land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. along Interstate 94 in Oak Creek.

Rendering of Oak Creek Ikea
Rendering of Oak Creek Ikea store.

The Swedish retailer will open a 295,000-square-foot, single-story store on 29 acres in the summer of 2018. The store will have 1,200 parking spaces.

Ikea plans to purchase the land from Northwestern Mutual on the northwest quadrant of West Drexel Avenue and I-94. The property is located on the east side of South 27th Street, across the street from Northwestern Mutual’s Franklin campus.

Construction of the Ikea store is expected to start in the spring of 2017, creating about 500 construction jobs, said Liz Gabor, Ikea’s real estate manager. Once complete, the store will employ 250 people.

Plans for the store were officially announced Wednesday morning in Oak Creek. BizTimes on Monday was the first to report the store was considering Oak Creek.

Ikea officials said Thursday that the retailer has about 206,000 customers in the Milwaukee area who travel to shop at the two stores in the Chicago area.

Northwestern Mutual owns 128 acres of land at 1830 W. Drexel Avenue. In November, the city changed its land use plan so 60 of those acres could be developed.

Betsy Hoylman, spokesperson for Northwestern Mutual said as of right now, there are no specific plans for the remaining acreage, but the company is excited for the potential development prospects Ikea could bring.

IKEA Oak Creek WI Site Plan
Site plan for the Oak Creek Ikea store.

“The Ikea brand name is attractive to business, such as restaurants or other retailers that want to be located nearby,” Holyman said. “We are excited by this development and look forward to discussions with interested parties that see the location’s potential.”

The development will be done through Northwestern Mutual Real Estate, the Milwaukee-based company’s real estate arm, which is one of the largest investors in real estate in the country. Northwestern Mutual Real Estate has $41 billion real estate investment portfolio, with investments in commercial mortgages and equity investments across all major property types, including apartments, office, retail and industrial.

Ikea approached Northwestern Mutual in 2015 about building a store on the site.

“We are known for chasing opportunities, but they came to us and said this is what we have for you,” said Oak Creek Mayor, Steve Scaffidi. “As you can imagine, we were really excited.”

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