It's official. IKEA is coming to the San Antonio area. Technically it will be in Live Oak, a city of about 14,000.
The choice of Live Oak left some wondering how the tiny municipality was able to land such a big fish in the retail world.
Live Oak is open for business and ribbon cuttings are nothing new, but going forward it will be tough to match the size of the newest addition coming to town.
“It’s a tremendous day,” said Scott Wayman, Live Oak city manager.
Wayman added that the city has been interested in bringing the home furnishing retailer to the area since 2012. Wayman and IKEA representatives said that the location is ultimately what sealed the deal as I-35 alone sees more than 200,000 vehicles a day.
“We seek locations that are both highly visible, easily accessible from the major highways and that’s exactly what we found,” said Chuck Coker, real estate manager for IKEA.
And with the store expected to generate millions in sales tax, it’s also a big win for the 14,000 residents of Live Oak.
“For residents there, property tax sees a tremendous benefit when we see a sales tax generator like IKEA come in,” Wayman said.
Not far from the future site of IKEA is Soccer Zone. It’s a 46,000 square foot facility that just celebrated its one year anniversary. Manager Ivan Salazar said that business continues to grow, partially thanks to it’s location.
When asked if they have any regrets on their location selection, Salazar replied:
“Not one bit. Not one bit. The only thing we regret is not having more fields for people.”
There were a few other factors in choosing Live Oak. An IKEA public affairs manager said that IKEA plans to join the developer for a public-private partnership with the city to help offset construction cost.
KENS 5 was told that the City of San Antonio did not try to lure IKEA, not because the city wouldn’t want it, but because the Economic Development Department doesn’t target retail. The City of San Antonio more often targets industries like healthcare, cyber-security and green technologies.