JOLIET – The future Ikea warehouse in Joliet will include a tower the equivalent of 12 stories high – and there could be two of them.
Height, noise and numbers of trucks were among the topics discussed at a meeting Ikea held with neighbors of the 1.4 million square foot facility to be built in the Laraway Crossings Business Park.
Also discussed was how many distribution centers will be built.
Ikea representatives confirmed it could be two facilities – each 1.4 million square feet in size, with center towers 115 feet high.
"There is land available to west of the land we currently own. We are pursuing that land," said Ikea Asset Manager Karen Talarico. "We're looking to purchase that land."
Project Construction Manager Frank Houder said Ikea has not decided whether or when to build a second facility. But if it is built, it would be a twin of the distribution center Ikea hopes to open before the end of 2017, he said.
Ikea expects to start construction in spring 2016.
Houder said he did not like defining the height of the center tower, which would be an automated storage bay area, in terms of stories. He noted there would be no separate floors in the tower. It would be an open space.
But residents at the meeting urged him to define the tower in terms of stories to get a clear idea of how high it will be.
The building around the center towers would be about four stories high.
Ikea called for the meeting to talk with residents about construction plans for the site in the business park at Illinois Route 53 and Laraway Road. Most of the 30 residents at the meeting in City Hall were from the nearby Sugar Creek subdivision, located outside Joliet city limits, but next to the Ikea site.
Many comments focused on the effect of the project once it is built, including how many more trucks the project will bring to the area.
"If you haven't driven (on Illinois 53), do it for one day and see how crazy it is and how dangerous it is," Eric Sperstad told the Ikea representatives. "You need to start now, as opposed to when it's done."
Houder and Talarico said they did not know how many trucks would go to the site daily, but would find out. They said the warehouse will operate 24 hours a day.
They did say trucks should not use Rowell Avenue, meaning they would move away from the neighborhood. The main route for trucks is supposed to be Emerald Drive out of the park to Illinois 53 and north to Interstate 80.
Residents at the meeting gave a round of applause to Ikea for holding the meeting to discuss the plans with them. But their frustration with the prospect of more warehouse development and more trucks was evident.
"Basically, we learned that it's twice as worse than we thought," said Niel Fulsang.