Ikea slow to furnish Assembly Square

Ikea slow to furnish Assembly Square

Construction of an Ikea, the Swedish retail phenomenon — whose inexpensive build-it-yourself furniture draws more than a million people a year to each of its stores — is on hold again in Somerville.

“Like lots of retailers, Ikea is trying to figure out when the next economic upturn will be,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.

“In the meantime, construction of the infrastructure around Assembly Square is ongoing,” added Curtatone.

While the store was expected to open in September, a ribbon cutting is unlikely this year, Curtatone said. The postponement is the latest snag in a decade-long effort to bring the retailer to Assembly Square.

“We have our approvals, but we don’t have a construction timetable,” said Joseph Roth, an Ikea spokesman. He wouldn’t comment on the delays in Somerville, where Ikea is planning its second Bay State store. The furniture giant — which opened its first Massachusetts store in Stoughton in 2005 — will only open one U.S. store this year, in Denver, Roth said.

Somerville’s “Assembly on the Mystic” project is expected to revitalize a 66.5-acre industrial site where Ford Edsels were once built. The first phase of construction is creating new roads, parks and access to the Mystic River, as well as a new stop on the MBTA’s Orange Line.

Once completed, Assembly on the Mystic will be a mixed-use, transit-oriented development with 18 buildings, 2,100 residential units, 1.8 million square feet of office space and 1.1 million square feet of retail space that includes restaurants, a cinema and a hotel.

Ikea was to have been the first building of the massive $1.3 billion development, but now AvalonBay, the real estate investment trust with its local offices in Quincy, will begin building the residential units first.

Curtatone said he is confident that a rejuvenated Assembly Square is in his city’s future, despite a decade of stops and starts at the site. “I will not allow land to stand empty at Assembly Square,” he said.

-tgrillo@bostonherald.com

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