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City Furniture opens energy-wise store in Boca Raton, Fla.


Building is among first stores to meet LEED standards
 The green design of City Furniture’s new Boca Raton, Fla., superstore includes high-performance glass that lets in light without excess heat. Bike racks and preferred parking for low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles promote alternative transportation.The green design of City Furniture’s new Boca Raton, Fla., superstore includes high-performance glass that lets in light without excess heat. Bike racks and preferred parking for low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles promote alternative transportation.
BOCA RATON, Fla. — City Furniture is opening its long-planned, energy-wise City and Ashley Furniture HomeStore superstore complex here today.

The nearly 94,000-square foot complex on Airport Road is one of the first stores in the nation built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards for energy efficiency.

Keith Koenig, president of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based City, said the opening "is truly about sustainability - both economic and environmental." The store generated more than 200 construction jobs and will add a net 20 to 30 employees, excluding those coming from the closing locations.

City has closed three smaller stores in Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and Lantana, Fla., but anticipates that the new complex will draw regionally and will generate more sale than those three combined, despite a slight decrease in selling space, he said.

Koenig added that business for City showed encouraging improvement in the fourth quarter and into January. It continues to improve, the Top 100 company will start work on other growth projects, he said.

"Building ‘green' is a natural extension of our corporate values and sustainable practices," he said. "Going forward, we'll look to achieve LEED certification in every location where that's doable."

In Boca Raton, the building's design is inspired by the neighboring Boca Raton Airport, with a wing-like roof defining the Ashley Furniture HomeStore and a vaulted roof over City Furniture recalling the shape of historic airplane hangars.

The complex, reportedly a more than $12 million investment for the retailer, is one of only a handful of furniture stores nationwide built to LEED standards. Compared with conventional construction, it is expected to use 42% less water for interior use and 78% less for landscape irrigation. Other green features include a high-efficiency energy management system and heat-reducing features and strategic use of natural light to conserve energy.
Koenig said that in its product offering at the new store, the midpriced retailer is "striving to delight customers with the Boca Raton market's widest selection, from furnishings for every room of the home to outdoor and home office furniture."

The retailer's value pricing and same-day delivery strategy remains unchanged. The store offer free, just-baked chocolate chip cookies that consumers can enjoy with Seattle's Best coffee at an in-store café.

The grand opening will feature a silent auction of home furnishings to benefit Hospice by the Sea of Boca Raton and Florida Atlantic University.

City now operate 14 City Furniture stores and nine Ashley Furniture HomeStores in southeast and southwest Florida.

Koenig declined to disclose sales projections for the Boca superstore, "but I'm extremely optimistic," he said. "It should be one of our best stores."

He said that if demand continues to improve this year, more expansion projects will begin. Those tentatively slated include construction of a 56,000-square-foot City store in Cutler Bay, Fla., and renovation of an existing adjacent City store into a HomeStore; renovation and expansion of its Dadeland-area store; construction of a HomeStore next to its existing City showroom in West Palm Beach, and the opening of a HomeStore in Fort Lauderdale at a former Modernage location.

All the projects could begin this year with most opening in early to mid-2012, he said.

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