Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 16/12/2008 (3204 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Call it a pre-Christmas miracle: IKEA announced this morning that it will open a store in Winnipeg.
Officials with the Swedish furniture chain said the company has purchased a piece of the former CN Intermodal Terminal site at Kenaston Boulevard and Sterling Lyon Parkway.
"We are continually reviewing expansion opportunities in Canada, and have for a long time considered Winnipeg as a key market for expansion," IKEA president Kerri Molinaro said in a news release.
"If we are able to secure the approvals necessary to accommodate our needs, we will look forward to serving the Winnipeg market and are confident that we will have a positive impact on the community through job creation and service contracts."
IKEA said it will built a 350,000-square-foot store, becoming an anchor tenant in a 1.5 million retail development on the southwest Winnipeg site.
Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick, IKEA’s public relations manager, said the new store will be one of the company’s largest in Canada.
Winnipeg has always been on IKEA’s radar, Löwenborg-Frick said, adding the company doesn’t move swiftly when it comes to expansion.
"We only build 20 stores world wide every year," she said. "Contrary to what some have maintained, we firmly believe Winnipeg can support one of our largest stores in Canada. We really do our homework to determine the sustainability and viability of our markets."
The new store would open sometime between late 2011 and early 2013. Löwenborg-Frick said the earliest IKEA officials will make an appearance in Winnipeg is March for an open house with concept plans.
The opening is not so far off, she said, adding that IKEA usually spends 18 months developing plans before construction begins.
The deal is contingent on receiving planning approvals from the province and the City of Winnipeg.
The Doer government and the city confirmed Tuesday they will chip in to bring IKEA to town.
Plans to widen Kenaston Boulevard and Sterling Lyon Parkway are being sped up to meet the timelines of the proposed megastore, pending a public rezoning process. The province will advance up to $8 million it wasn’t planning to spend for several years — even decades — on the road work.
"By accelerating existing infrastructure plans, we are encouraging smart responsible development and I am thrilled to see this major retail project transform from talk to action," Mayor Sam Katz said in a release.
The province is keen to speed up all infrastructure spending to stave off an economic downturn, but Doer was coy when pressed last month about incentives he might be eyeing to woo IKEA to Winnipeg.
IKEA has 275 stores in 36 countries, 11 of them in Canada.