Photos show a desolate Ikea in downtown San Francisco as customers say persistent construction, lack of parking and constant crime on the surrounding streets keep them from shopping at the store. The Swedish furniture store defied the city’s grueling business exodus and opened a new multi-floor megastore in August on Market Street, which has become a hotbed for crime and drug use. Customers are now saying the initial excitement for the store has worn off and are opting to shop at the nearby Emeryville location because the San Francisco store is inaccessible.
One user by the name of MissionLoco posted photos on X, formerly Twitter , inside the store showing stocked shelves but nearly empty aisles with no customers. ‘The new Ikea is dead as a doorknob. Outside, the construction noise is deafening. The street scene, disheartening,’ the user said. Ikea officials have not commented on the empty store photos or the customer complaints. Officials from the Sweden-based company did not respond in time for this report.
Known for its suburban warehouse-like stores, Ikea is pushing more in-city shops across the US and are promoting its online stores. Tolga Oncu, head of retail at Ikea store owner Ingka Group, said the company had strategized with security firms on how to position the entry and exit of the San Francisco location. They’ve also taken measures to stop crime without the presence of a lot of guards. However, rampant crime and drug use on Market Street has helped deter shoppers from going to the downtown location.
On October 1, a man went on a stabbing spree near 4th and Market Streets, just blocks away from Ikea. Three people were attack and police said the assailant was a suspect in an assault that happened near Market and Battery streets earlier that day, reported KGO . ‘Just checked Citizen and there appears to be a report of a stabbing 3 hours ago at 960 Market Street,’ said user FriscoLive415 on X . ‘Well, I have predetermined plans to go to Ikea today, so I will be updating with what I find out!’
Just blocks away from the Ikea store is the intersection of Seventh and Market streets, which has become a center for drug crimes. The San Francisco Standard reported that the city is on track to set a record for fatal drug overdoses this year, and 20 percent of reported drug crimes in 2023 have been logged within a block of the intersection. San Francisco’s overdose deaths soared in August with an additional 84 deaths, 66 involving fentanyl, the deadliest month since 2021. More than 849 people are expected to die of drug overdoses in 2023, on pace to exceed the current record of 720 deaths in 2020. As of October 29, the San Francisco Police Department reported homicides in the city are up 7 percent, robbery is up 14.4 percent and motor vehicle theft is up 8.3 percent.
The San Francisco Standard also revealed the city has filed an application to build a mental health center for homeless people who are uninsured on Market Street. Infrastructure in the area has also left customers saying the store is inaccessible and inconvenient. San Francisco Public Works shut down the section of Market Street outside the store from October 14 through the 28 for roadway work. Kyle Grochmal posted a photo on X showing the construction outside of the Ikea store where the street directly out front is blocked off by orange cones. Customers have also raised complaints over access to parking near the store. ‘No parking at Ikea San Francisco with most lots charging $20, you are better off just driving over the Bay Bridge and visiting their location in Emeryville, unless you are taking mass transit, and seeking easy to carry items,’ said Joseph Angelo on X.
Ikea officials knew of the parking and car rules on Market Street when they opened the stored and recommended customers take public transportation. ‘We don’t have any large furniture as a takeaway item from this unit. We have 150 small furniture, which is easy to carry on public transportation,’ Arda Akalin, the manager of IKEA’s San Francisco and Emeryville locations told KRON . ‘And we do have a home delivery, which is $19 dollars, which is a pretty similar price to downtown parking in San Francisco.’
Ikea opened the 52,000-square-foot megastore in the empty Westfield mall with much fanfare decking out the store with yellow and blue balloons. In June, the mall defaulted on its $558 million mortgage after its anchor tenant Nordstrom decided to close along with Old Navy and Banana Republic due to high crime rates.
Economist call the crisis in the Golden Gate city a ‘doom loop,’ referring to a city’s decline when tax incomes fall as residents and businesses leave, causing revenues to decline in a downward spiral that is hard to reverse. A recent CBRE analysis found San Francisco has a market-wide office vacancy rate of 34 percent. A DailyMail.com analysis found the city stands to lose $200M-a-year as major businesses leave the city. Starbucks closed seven stores in the Golden Gate city and Microsoft vacated its nearly 50,000 square foot office. Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12702325/Ikea-San-Francisco-Market-Street-construction-crime.html?ito=msngallery
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