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ELIZABETH, NJ-In an effort to give all its regional stores a uniform look, furniture retailer Ikea has begun an extensive upgrade of its store here. The renovation program started in February and is scheduled to be completed by April of next year.

Opened in 1990, the original 272,000-square-foot complex was the first large-scale Ikea project in the US. Located on 21 acres at Exit 13A of the New Jersey Turnpike, the store was expanded by 80,000 square feet in 1998. It employs 400 workers.

The store will remain open during the renovation period, which will be done in phases. While work is being done, the store’s full-serve warehouse and furniture pick-up area will be temporarily relocated to a building across from Ikea Drive. Specifically, the self-area, where customers can pick-up flat-packed furniture, will grow from 20% of warehouse capacity to 80%. In addition, the HVAC, vertical transport and lighting systems will all be upgraded.

The purpose of the program is to standardize and modernize the layouts and displays in all New York/New Jersey Ikea stores, which include outlets in Paramus, NJ; Hicksville and Brooklyn, NY.

“We recognize this project may require flexibility by our customers, but we are confident the result will be an enhanced shopping experience at Ikea Elizabeth,” says store manager Bob Kay in a statement. A spokesman for Ikea would not disclose the price of the renovation, but called it a “multimillion dollar initiative.”

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