Not content to simply commandeer living rooms and gondolas or serve horsey meatballs, Swedish furnishings overlord Ikea is well on its way to erecting a bona fide Ikea town, 26 acres of peppy Scandinavian sprawl near Olympic Park in London. Fast Company recently wrote up the fascinating (if easily mocked) Strand East, unveiling some intriguing factual tidbits. The top 10:
1. Included in Ikea's masterplan: shops, schools, theaters, a hotel, and, you know, apartments for 6,000 people.
2. Strangely absent? An actual Ikea store.
3. Starting prices for the town's flat-pack houses, called BoKlock, are less than half the price of an average U.K. house—$112,500 vs. $260,850.
4. Some market analysts think creating Ikea housing is a bad move for the company: "Personally, I think they're a bit insane, because there's nothing with a longer shelf life than a house," Euromonitor retail analyst Antonia Branston told Fast Company. "What if, in 20 years' time, Strand East is known for crack houses?"
5. Of the 1,200 houses to be built, 40 percent will be large enough for families, and 15 percent of them will be earmarked as affordable housing.
6. Speaking of housing: "While the houses won't be assembled with Allen wrenches or land scaped with lingonberry bushes, company executives insist they'll be offered in the same spirit as the furniture—with high (enough) quality and low prices for all."
7. The whole shebang will supposedly cost around $500M.
8. This is but one of many major projects in the works: the company's LandProp division has another spot of land north of London, is set to embark on a $1.45B project in the U.K.'s Birmingham, and is reportedly shopping around for potential sites in Hamburg, Germany.
9. Despite the scale of Strand East, profits will still be small apples compared to Ikea's furniture sales, which will probably grow steadily thanks to store expansions in China and future openings in India. Fast Company calls the town a "legacy-building exercise."
10. Ikea also owns wind farms, office parks, and, of course, a line of electronics.