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PHILADELPHIA-After rejecting several Philadelphia CBD sites for its planned 330,000-sf store, Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA has settled on the 44-acre waterfront parcel that Blue Bell, PA-based Goldenberg Group hopes to develop into Penn’s Port Pavilion. Goldenberg’s vice president and general counsel, Robert Freedman, however, confirms to GlobeSt.com, that in order for the project to proceed, the land, which is owned by Jacksonville, FL-based CSX Corp., must be rezoned from industrial to commercial.

He also confirms that if the city council fails to vote in favor of rezoning this month, IKEA suggests it has options in southern New Jersey. “We’re hopeful (it will stay),” Freedman says.

Calls to city council members, including to Councilman Frank DiCicco, in whose district the parcel is located and who sits on the commerce and economic development committee, were not returned by press time.

IKEA requires 22 acres for its store, which is projected to cost $45 million to build. It would anchor Penn’s Port. Additional tenants in discussion with Goldenberg include Best Buy, Lowe’s and Costco along with regional retailers and restaurateurs, Freedman says.

The land along the Delaware River is just south of existing Wal-Mart and Target stores.

While that adjacency is seen as beneficial to both IKEA and Goldenberg, it is seen as a stumbling block to several members of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, who balk at devoting additional valuable waterfront property to retail.

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