(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA-Ikea will relocate its North American headquarters from the 60,000-sf facility it occupies here to a new three-story, 75,000-sf office building now under construction adjacent to the store it opened in Conshohocken in January 2003. The new building, which Ikea refers to as its North American Service Office, is located on a four-acre parcel the company acquired in conjunction with the land it purchased for construction of the Conshohocken store.

It is along Alan Wood Road off Ridge Pike on the southwestern side of the 325,000-sf Conshohocken store. An Ikea spokesman says, “the new facility will include more meeting and conference space and be equipped with WiFi and technically advanced A/V capabilities.” Approximately 350 employees will be located there providing retail management, sales, marketing, retail expansion, distribution, purchasing and other functions.

The spokesman tells GlobeSt.com the company has sold its current headquarters to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, the Philadelphia-based retail REIT that owns Plymouth Meeting Mall, but will remain until the new building is completed late this year. He declined to disclose either the sale price of its current facility or the construction cost for the new one.

The current Ikea North American headquarters is adjacent to the site of the Swedish retailer’s first US store, which it opened near Plymouth Meeting Mall in 1985. That site was vacated when the Conshohocken store opened. Initially, it leased the office space, which has been expanded several times, and bought the building in 1995.

PREIT acquired the former 160,000-sf original Ikea store and 6.1-acre parcel adjacent to Plymouth Meeting Mall in 2003 for nearly $15.8 million, according to Nurit Yaron, VP of investor relations. She tells GlobeSt.com that PREIT is demolishing the now-vacant store and the Ikea headquarters building to make way for redevelopment and the addition of a lifestyle wing to the 813,000-sf Plymouth Meeting Mall.

The cost of the redevelopment and 200,000-sf lifestyle addition is $53.4 million. A 70,000-sf Whole Foods is the anchor, and the expansion will also contain up to six upscale themed restaurants aggregating 35,000 sf. Construction begins this year. As of Dec. 31, 2005, Plymouth Meeting Mall produced an average of $243 per sf, and occupancy was 89.9%.

“Whole Foods will be the impetus for the transformation of Plymouth Meeting Mall into a premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination,” says Ronald Rubin, PREIT’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Our goal is to reinvent the mall into an exciting lifestyle destination that will…promote cross shopping through a unique common area redevelopment.”

Meanwhile, Pernille Lopez, president of Ikea North America, says, welcomes the opportunity to plan a new building from the ground up. “Also, the ability to once again be neighbors with our suburban Philadelphia store offers a unique opportunity in which we can be just as close to our retail operations physically as we are in spirit.”