PALO ALTO, CA-Popular furniture retailer Ikea is looking to establish roots in another Bay Area location. The company is negotiating for the 10-acre lot at Ravenswood 101 Retail center in East Palo Alto, which could hold a 250,000- to 350,000-sf building with 1,500 parking spaces. Represented by BT Commercial in Oakland, Ikea also is said to be seeking a location along the 580/680 corridor, making Pleasanton a possibility. The chain currently has a 274,000-sf store in Emeryville, which sits on 15 acres and includes 1,100 parking spaces.

The final environmental impact report should be presented to the East Palo Alto Redevelopment Agency this spring. Ikea officials plan to begin construction in the third quarter and open the store in early 2002.

City officials said they welcome the familiar blue-and-gold structure into the Ravenswood fold as part of a regional draw focused on home-related retailers – where Home Depot, Design EXPO, Office Depot and Best Buy are located – but worry that the latest addition may clog the arteries leading to and from the 2.5-sf mile city of 28,000 residents.

The Ikea store in Emeryville is an example East Palo Alto city officials hope to avoid. In Emeryville, the store’s traffic has snarled the main thruways leading to the nearby access ramps as thousands of patrons surge toward the lot for the store entrance.

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