IKEA Greenwich will open its doors in early February. It feels like this has taken forever for this controversial project to actually happen but now it has and we’ve had an exclusive first sneak peek!
Brimming with new concepts and enthusiasm (and yes you guessed it tea-lights – check our Insta for more) this morning we got a sneak peek tour – breakfast included…..(happy dancing)
The 344,445 square foot store – with its rooftop community gardens and various learning spaces – is a new concept store for the IKEA brand, who have 21 other UK stores and nothing else like this in the UK. In fact, it’s their most sustainable store with greywater recycling, rainwater treatment, and solar panels – plus sensory wildlife garden.
It’s clear though from walking around and chatting with staff that lots of thought has gone into the planning at this store and its impact on its neighbours, i.e. you and me.
The building features huge amounts of natural light, green spaces, a roof garden, flexible work areas and workshops. There’s also a roof pavilion and a learning lab where you and I can learn a few upcycling tricks and enviable IKEA hacks ourselves.
Parents take note: there will be Pop-In and Play Workshops starting in the February Half Term where kids can, to begin with, build their own bug hotels – with more to follow.
The Showroom and Marketplace is as you’d expect with any IKEA, well laid out and functional with the obligatory magic doors (no doors though this time, they are archways) strategically placed so if you know where they are you can jump section to section – rather than following along on the yellow brick road of home furnishings.
Kids from 3-10 years old can spend up to 60 minutes in our their supervised crèche. Don’t forget your child’s socks though as these are mandatory. There is also another indoor play space too.
However, as a parent I also worry about my children’s lungs and have come to the conclusion that until alternative river crossings (bridges and tunnels) and a re-routing of the south circular in some way is achieved – this part of town will always be a bottleneck, with or without the addition of a furnishing store from Sweden.
Remember unlike its previous resident Sainsbury’s, IKEA will not be open 24 hours, and it’s actively encouraging the use of public transport with tasty incentives on delivery to the local areas, like 24-hour delivery options if you live in the Borough. So no you don’t have to take your Billy Bookcase on the 180 or 386 bus… and with that in mind, the new store will be served by 11 routes, or 45 buses per hour if they all arrive on time!
In fact, the prospect of 500 local people in employment across the store’s retail department, crèche, restaurant, bistro and Swedish food market, spending their hard-earned cash in this and other local businesses should be welcomed by all. In fact, it’s part of the recruitment drive that staff be living within a certain radius of the store so they can walk or jump on the bus. According to the IKEA team, 54% are from our borough.
IKEA wants to be a responsible and caring addition to our local community. It is certainly going to be interesting to see if they can achieve that goal.
All in all, I give this a big thumbs up and predict many a meatball lunch with parents strolling through the marketplace and showrooms with their families making use of the spaces and not just passing through the till on autopilot.
Having seen the store, we think it’s an excellent addition to our area so would advise you to pop in and take a look for yourself. You may be surprised, but just don’t forget your slice of Dime Cake.
IKEA opens 10.00am on the 7th Feb, closest station is Westcombe Park.
If you are going to drive there is ample parking of which includes 20 electric car-charging points and at least 75 cycle spaces.
If you are an IKEA family member make sure you update your card details to reflect Greenwich as your new home store.
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