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TAMPA, FL-The city council has approved Swedish retailer Ikea’s plans to build a 353,000-sf store on 29 acres currently occupied with buildings at the former Tampa International Center. The center is bordered by 22nd Street, 26th Street, Adamo Drive and the Crosstown Expressway near Ybor City.

With the approval in place, construction could begin as early as spring 2008, with a projected store opening as early as summer 2009. “We are glad to contribute to Tampa’s reputation as a retail destination throughout the region,” says Ikea real estate manager Michael Maier.

The store will feature 1,700 parking spaces, three model homes, 50 room settings, a children’s play area and a 300-seat restaurant that features Swedish and American food.

The store would be Ikea’s newest addition in its efforts to expand in the southeast. This fall, Ikea will open stores in Sunrise and Orlando. Another store in Charlotte, NC is slated to open in spring 2009. Roth says the company does not anticipate opening any more stores in Florida in the near future.

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