The news is official. France’s newest IKEA store will be sited a 15-minute drive from Nice city centre. Fingers crossed that the Swedish furniture giant will stick to Mayor Christian Estrosi’s planned opening date of early 2019.
It’s enough to make you jump for joy on your affordably comfy Sultan mattress. Not for nothing were 20% of British children conceived on an IKEA bed.
Hitherto, locals have had to trundle over to Toulon to buy a Billy bookcase. (Some 50m of these shelving units have been agonisingly assembled across the globe.)
The route is so well trodden that local car hire firms know the exact kilometre calculation from Nice to Toulon’s IKEA megastore. Tragically, Ikea’s global tally of 155,000 workers includes a big fat zero from Nice. That’s about to change.
Uniquely, the forthcoming Nice branch of IKEA will be the first in the world to be fully integrated into the urban environment. Apartments, parking lots and yet more shopping will be a short stroll away.
The 3-D drawings show the store snuggled next to the brand-new Allianz Riviera football stadium. Both projects have were designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the star architect behind Nice’s Hotel Beau Rivage.
To keep in line with the city’s eco-chic credentials, 7,000m2 of photovoltaic panels will line the Nice IKEA’s roof. While a meadow of rooftop grass will regulate temperatures inside. At least 350 jobs will be guaranteed in the new store, not to mention during the three-year construction process.
The project is a part of Mayor Estrosi’s Eco-Vallée plan. As Nice grows ever-larger, both housing and commerce can be expanded west along the River Var, which flows north from Nice Airport.
Already in place alongside the Allianz Riviera stadium are major employers like Orange, IBM and EDF. By 2018, Nice’s Tramway Line 2, plus dozens of Auto Bleu electric car stations, will line the route.
If you get there before me, mine’s a plate of Swedish meatballs. Hold the sauce.