Ikea Assembling Its Own Little Neighborhood in East London

Difficult to put together, impossible to leave?

Not content with its current market share among college students and new homeowners, Ikea is building its own little ergonomic Spahn Ranch compound outside London. The company bought 27 acres of land where—presumably with many giant Allen wrenches—it will build townhouses, apartments and offices to rent out. It will also be putting up a hotel because it'll probably need the conference room somewhere down the line. A Globe and Mail report about the project (which isn't an April Fools' joke, even though the story was published April 1) paints Ikea's role here as a landlord-slash-local government, perpetually leaning over the community's shoulder, which is more than a little unnerving. Maybe you don't think so, but I'm only 30 minutes away from Columbia, Md., a town known for a) being an extensively planned suburban community, and b) insane homeowners associations that make it impossible to live there. Don't say you weren't warned, Londoners. More images after the jump.