Proposed IKEA sparks controversy in Dublin

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Right now, it's just 27 acres of dirt and dry grass right next to Interstate 580 in Dublin. But if IKEA has its way, it would be the budget furniture chain's first new store in the Bay Area in 15 years.

And while some say they would welcome the popular store, opponents claim its popularity could cause big problems for their community.

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"The last thing that Dublin needs is another strip mall," said Jacqui Alexander, a longtime Dublin resident and project opponent.

"We've spent quite a bit of time really getting to know the community," said IKEA spokesperson Latisha Bracy, who says the Dublin store would be smaller than its predecessors in Emeryville and East Palo Alto. "317,000 square feet would be the IKEA store," she said, "and then 97,000 square feet of retail, with about 6 acres of open space."

The exterior would also feature less of IKEA's signature blue and yellow with more glass and neutral tones.

But opponents say it's all too much for their town -- especially a franchise that's known to draw customers from far and wide by the tens of thousands.

"It goes as far away as Modesto, Stockton," explained Riadh Khairalla, a civil engineer and resident of Dublin. "According to the EIR document, it will attract around 18,000 vehicles. That overflow is going to clog Dublin Boulevard and 580 and then it will become a nightmare."

IKEA claims it will do whatever is needed to mitigate the impact of an estimated thousand additional cars per hour.

The planning commission is expected to vote on the IKEA project Tuesday night. The full city council here will consider it next month. If approved, the new store would be finished in 2020-21.
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