Sorry, El Paso: no IKEA for you. At least not anytime soon.

The rumor started earlier this week after the weekly newspaper El Paso Inc. posted an article about a possible future development project in Northwest El Paso. The paper interviewed developer Jose Gonzalez who said his real estate development company, West Retailer, wants to acquire and develop 115 acres of land across from The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso.

“We are working with IKEA, but that is not a sure deal," Gonzalez is quoted as saying, but declined to talk about it further.

So I reached out to Joseph Roth, IKEA Property Public Affairs Manager/U.S. Expansion, to find out if the Swedish furniture giant really was engaged in talks to bring their popular home decor and meatballs to our little corner of the desert.

"We definitely DO NOT have any immediate plans for a store in El Paso," Roth replied via e-mail, emphasizing 'do not' in capital letters.

"As an open minded company, we entertain solicitations from developers across the country. However, listening to a sales pitch, and actually committing to a market -- let alone a specific site -- are two different things."

He added that the company requires "a much larger population to support a store."

The number one criteria for IKEA is a metropolitan area with a population of at least two million people. The El Paso metro area, consisting of El Paso and Hudspeth county, has a population of a little over 830,000.

Corporate retailers the size of IKEA don't typically take into consideration all the people with wallets in Juarez and Las Cruces when making site selections for possible growth into El Paso.

Maybe some years down the line, the success of Topgolf, Whole Foods, and other major retailers who have given the buying power of the entire Boderland a chance will open the eyes of the world's largest furniture retailer.

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