IKEA’s announcement last week that it’s building a store in Charlotte kicked off a frenzy not equaled since Nordy’s finally opted to come here. I’ve never been to an IKEA, so I’m not in a position to rave about their furniture, though I know lots of other people who do.
But a source at the city planning department says there’s a battle, of sorts, going on over the size of the signs IKEA wants. That’s why it’s requesting a very urban-type of zoning (MUDD-O for those of you who know the lingo). That “-O” is key. It stands for optional, and it means you can get permission for all kinds of things that, without the “-O,” you wouldn’t be allowed to do. Such as have very large signs and very tall signs.
In reality, “battle” isn’t the right word since it sounds as if the planners are going to buckle and allow IKEA its gigantic signs. “We have no leverage,” my source said. The building's architecture is “not negotiable.” According to this source, IKEA's negotiating stance was essentially “take it or leave it.”
I’ve never shopped at IKEA, so maybe it’s such shopping nirvana that it’s worth breaking all the rules for. It does have plenty of fans. But man, that is one ugly building. And at 345,000 square feet, it’s going to be one very huge, very ugly building – roughly twice the size of the 176,000-square-foot Wal-Mart supercenter to which Waxhaw just gave thumbs down. And did I mention that the building is ugly?
“It is not an attractive building,” said my planning source, who clearly hadn’t gotten the memo from on high to praise all things IKEA. (Or maybe said memo was indeed received. You’ll notice I’m not using the planner’s name.) “It’s a blue and yellow big box. Yeucch!”
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Posted by Mary Newsom at 5:55 PM