The new store is nearly the same size as the original, neighboring one that Ikea put up in the 1990s, but it’s on two floors with a lighter and airier feel.
The new Ikea store in Renton, right next to the old one, is now two stories tall rather than one. Its restaurant, still serving Swedish meatballs, is now much bigger and bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows. And the playroom for kids, looking like a crayon-colored mini-forest, is now bigger too.
Those were among the most apparent changes during a media tour in advance of the opening Wednesday of Ikea’s new Renton store.
The 399,000-square-foot store, built on Ikea’s 29-acre parcel, is about the same size as its old one.
But the overall feel is a bit lighter and airier, with the restaurant and showroom now on the second floor, and the first floor housing the self-serve furniture warehouse and marketplace where customers grab the things they want to buy.
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The new store also includes the state’s largest rooftop solar array, producing electricity for the store.
Ikea Renton: old vs. new
Opened: 1994 for old store; next Wednesday for new store
Square feet: 398,000 old store; 399,000 new store
Room settings: 41 in old store; 43 in new
Employees: 375 at old store; 425 in new
Parking: 1,200 spaces at old store; 1,600 spaces at new store upon completion
Restaurant seating: 290 seats in old store; 600 seats in new
The old store will close on 6 p.m. Monday. The new store will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. (Neither one will be open to the public on Tuesday.)
Since construction work is continuing as Ikea demolishes its old store to create more parking, the off-site parking, with shuttle service on weekends and holidays, will continue for now.
At the old store, there will be a sale of display items at up to 50 percent off, running 9 a.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Monday, or until items are gone. Lineup begins no earlier than 7:15 a.m. at the main entrance door on each of those days, according to Ikea.
On Tuesday, when the store is closed to the public, nonprofits invited by Ikea can come in to grab enough new merchandise to fill a cart and a big blue Ikea bag, said Joseph Roth, an Ikea spokesman.
An opening ceremony starting at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday will include a traditional Swedish log-sawing, rather than a ribbon cutting. A bigger celebration, with giveaways and food sampling, is being planned for fall when the entire project is expected to be completed.