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SOMERVILLE, MA-The I’s are not all dotted and nothing official has been signed yet, but it looks like this city may finally be getting an IKEA store after all. An official with the city tells GlobeSt.com that a deal with the Swedish-based furniture chain to locate its store here on a 16-acre parcel at Assembly Square is nearly complete.

“We are very close to signing a memorandum of agreement to provide an IKEA store,” says Sean Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for city mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay. “The final agreement and signing on this deal is imminent.” The transaction would include a 250,000-sf IKEA store, with a 160,000-sf footprint and a 90,000-sf mezzanine, two office buildings totaling 225,000-sf and two retail stores.

IKEA had initially wanted to place a 320,000-sf store on the site without any mixed-use development, but there has been intense local opposition against big-box stores being developed in the area. The mayor’s office was interested in seeing a mixed-use component on the site and also insisted that the parking garage be located underground. According to Fitzgerald, this will be the first IKEA store with underground parking.

One of the major sticking points in the deal is the community-benefits package the mayor wants IKEA to provide to the city. Fitzgerald would not go into detail but notes that it “involves dollar amounts and community benefits.”

Despite the previous local opposition, Fitzgerald is confident that local residents will now greet the store with open arms. “In light of the current economy, the majority of residents want this,” he says. “This could a catalyst for future development.

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