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ORLANDO-The city council has followed the planning board’s lead and unanimously approved IKEA’s master plan for a 310,000-sf store in the city. The property will be only the third in the Southeast and the second in the state, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

The timeline now hinges on the permitting process, with the Swedish retailer eyeing a construction start later this year and a fall 2007 opening. The planning board recommended the council greenlight the plan last month.

IKEA’s new store will rise on 22 acres off Eastgate Drive south of Conroy Road. The 310,000-sf asset will also feature 1,200 parking spaces. IKEA’s director of public affairs, Joseph Roth, previously told GlobeSt.com that the store will also include 10,000 exclusively designed items, three model homes, 50 room settings, a children’s play area and a 300-seat restaurant. The new store will generate jobs during the construction phase, as well as employ approximately 400 people when it opens its doors.

“We are glad to contribute to Orlando’s reputation as a retail destination, just as much as it already is an entertainment one,” David Iemolo, real estate manager for IKEA, says in a statement. “Beyond the jobs and tax revenue IKEA will generate, we are pleased the city recognizes our commitment to become an active community member.”

The Orlando store will come online just months after the opening of IKEA’s Sunrise location, its first in Florida. As GlobeSt.com previously reported, that 293,000-sf property is rising on a 20-acre parcel that is part of the Gateway at Sawgrass shopping center being developed by Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corp. IKEA made its Southeast debut in June 2005 with its Atlanta store and is developing a 1.7-million-sf distribution center in Savannah.

Florida is not the only state IKEA is making news. In Boston, a judge has ruled on the retailer’s license to build on a 16.6-acre parcel and in Cincinnati, IKEA revealed plans to enter the Ohio market with a 339,000-sf store.

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