The COVID-delayed but still definitely happening San Francisco IKEA store on Market between Fifth and Sixth Streets has started building out, but it’s going to be more of an “IKEA-anchored meeting place” (mall) with other tenants too.

We learned way back in September 2020 that an IKEA store was coming to Market Street, and IKEA themselves soon thereafter confirmed they were taking over the vacant "6x6" dead mall between Fifth and Sixth Streets. Yet not a lot has happened since, for entirely understandable pandemic reasons. The Chronicle now reports that construction of the new IKEA is now underway, though you won’t see much construction from the street — it’s all more internal buildout thus far.


Still, this is welcome progress. It won’t be an Emeryville-style mega-IKEA, but instead one fashioned by IKEA’s mall division Ingka Centres, who describe the project as “a unique concept that will be a mix of retail offer, office space, food & beverage, entertainment and digital experiences.”

There are no details or timeline on an opening. “We are currently in the process of making significant improvements to the building, to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for visitors and the local community,” Ingka Centres said in a statement to the Chronicle. “We look forward to sharing more details about this development in the near future.”

Per the Chron, IKEA will only take up about 25% of the 250,000 square foot shopping center, so it’s a pretty miniaturized IKEA. But this is the direction that the Swedish furniture and meatball retailer is going these days, having built similar dense mall projects in concentrated urban areas in China, Europe, and India.  

None of the other tenants have been announced, nor has a fancy name been applied to the location. But the company’s preferred nomenclature on these IKEA mall projects seems to be “meeting place.”

IKEA does now own the building, having bought it for nearly $200 million. They plan to put a reported $60 million more into the buildout.

This is great news for Market Street, which has lost the presences of big, national brands like the Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch in the last two years. It seems like it may be years until office workers return to downtown in full force, but if people are lured to the area with sectional sofas and Swedish meatballs, then all the better.

Related: The Gap Is Opening Four New Retail Stores at Its Rincon Hill Headquarters [SFist]

Image: Courtesy Ingka Centres