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ORLANDO-IKEA has begun to move dirt for its 309,000-sf store rising on 22 acres here. The store will be the Swedish retailer’s second property in Florida and officials are eyeing a late fall opening.

The construction start comes six months after the Orlando City Council approved plans for the store in August. The store, just the third IKEA in the Southeast, will be located off Eastgate Drive south of Conroy Road, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

“Now that construction is under way, it is exciting to see actual physical progress towards the future of IKEA Orlando,” said David Iemolo, IKEA real estate director, in a statement. The store will feature three model homes, 50 room settings, a supervised children’s play area and a 300-seat restaurant, according to IKEA officials. The property will also contain 1,200 parking spaces.

The Orlando store will open its doors just behind the early fall opening of the IKEA in Sunrise–which will be the retailer’s first Florida location. IKEA made its first inroads into the Southeast with the June 2005 opening of its Atlanta store. In addition, the retailer is also developing a 1.7-million-sf distribution center in Savannah, as GlobeSt.com has also previously reported.

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