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STOUGHTON, MA-IKEA is finally going to get a store built in the region. The Swedish furniture retailer’s plan to develop a 350,000-sf store on a 20-acre parcel just off Route 24 was approved by the town. The approval took under six months, a move that took many in the industry by storm as IKEA has been trying to get a 280,000-sf store built for over five years on property it owns in Somerville.

While the city has been fairly receptive to the idea, a local citizen’s group there has filed to block construction of the store. In April Somerville approved zoning that would allow IKEA to seek expedited approval to build office and residential space next to its planned home furnishings store but plans for construction of the store are still tied up in the lawsuit.

David Tonis, Stoughton’s building commissioner, tells GlobeSt.com that IKEA’s proposal required a number of special permits and variances, all of which received town approval. “IKEA is good to go,” he says. Joseph Roth, a representative of IKEA, tells GlobeSt.com that the company anticipates breaking ground sometime in August or September, once all the logistical details were ironed out.

While Tonis says that he believes that the company will now abandon its Somerville plans, Roth says that IKEA has no such intention. “The Boston area is large enough to support two stores,” he points out. “Part of the beauty of the Stoughton site is that it complements the Somerville site. That is why we chose this location to the south of the city.”

Roth points out that the Stoughton store will probably open in fall, 2005 and the Somerville store will likely open two years after that. “Even if Somerville had opened first,” he says, “we would have opened a store in Stoughton.”

The IKEA site in Stoughton is comprised of a number of lots owned by FX Messina Enterprises, a Braintree, MA-based developer, and is surrounded by a number of other big-box stores such as Jordan’s Furniture, Costco and Christmas Tree Shops. Tonis says that the company plans to purchase the property and will also upgrade all access roads to the new store. The main access road will be through Avon on Stockwell Drive. A secondary access road will be on Turnpike Street.

Tonis notes that the store will be Stoughton’s largest big box store and is expected to bring in between $800,000 and $1 million annually in taxes. The store is expected to be completed sometime next year. Ikea currently has 18 stores in the US, with the latest store under construction in New Haven, CT.

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