Ikea San Francisco: Furniture company bets on return-to-office – The San Francisco Standard

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It’s a counterintuitive bet by one of the few private entities investing heavily in a beleaguered downtown market. Ikea, which has largely bucked the broader decline in big-box retailers, is focused on diversifying past its core business of suburban furniture warehouses.

Enter San Francisco: In 2020, a subsidiary of Ingka purchased the vacant 6×6 shopping center at 945 Market St., intending to transform each floor into its own unique destination. 

Hej!, on the fifth floor of the building, spans 46,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 500 people. During a visit on a recent weekday afternoon, the space was only about 20% occupied, but workers could be spotted using common areas to chat and interact. 

Ikea is located in the Mid-Market neighborhood, which was once considered a poster child for the shared economic benefits of the tech boom. Now, it has become a cautionary tale of the industry’s post-pandemic retreat. Companies like Uber, Block and Twitter have scaled back their presences, and issues such as drug use and homelessness have worsened.

Research from real estate firm Kidder Mathews tagged the total availability rate of office space in Mid-Market at 59.4%, the highest of any San Francisco submarket.

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