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Jacksonville, FL (November 03, 2016) The landscape of District 11 will change forever when the IKEA store opens in late 2017 near Gate Parkway and I-295. Several city officials including Mayor Lenny Curry, and Council Members Danny Becton, Jim Love, Matt Schellenberg and Aaron Bowman where on hand Nov. 3 for the construction’s official groundbreaking.

While site preparation work had already begun prior to the traditional turning of dirt, the ceremony allowed the opportunity to again reinforce the impact IKEA will have on the community, city and Northeast Florida region. The 25 acre site will house a 290,000 square foot store with parking space for 1,200 vehicles. IKEA is a Swedish company with 380 stores in 48 countries including 42 in the United States.

In remarks prior to the groundbreaking, Council Member Becton spoke of the economic impact the store will have as it will bring about 250 new full and part-time jobs to the district. IKEA is known to pay some of the highest wages in the retail industry and offers full benefits, even to its part-time workers.

Prior to the issuing of permits, Becton held town meetings to address traffic and signage concerns. Traffic patterns have been designed to lessen impact to those traveling in that area. It is noted that the store does not open during the morning rush hour and that most customers spend on average 3 hours in the store.

Council Member Becton’s complete speech as follows:

“As the Councilmember for District 11, I would like to welcome everyone this morning on this very exciting occasion. Today, we are here to help IKEA representatives break ground on a new store location in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is excited about hosting an IKEA store. With a limited presence across the county, IKEA is a unique retailer offering a unique shopping experience that will enhance our city’s reputation as a retail destination.

Having an IKEA store in Jacksonville will further elevate our international status in the same league as cities such as Stockholm, Moscow, Beijing and London. Opening an IKEA store here demonstrates that strategic and smart growth can happen in North Florida for the benefit of Jacksonville residents.

The effects of IKEA in our community will have wide spread economic benefits beginning with this ground breaking, creating 500 construction jobs. Once finished, this single store will add 250 new full and part-time jobs while these new employees will buy and rent homes in our communities, will eat in our local restaurants and help to bring important tax revenues to our local and state government. As an employer, IKEA is recognized as one of the top 100 places to work.

I read that soon after IKEA announced this new site location last year, it was reported in the city of Hilton Head S.C that they would no longer have to travel the long distance to Charlotte but could now come to Jacksonville to shop at IKEA. This IKEA store will be a destination for visitors far and wide. Once in Jacksonville, these visitors will stay in our hotels, again patronize our restaurants and expand their shopping experience within our City. Lastly, these visitors will be here to allow us to entertain them at the many family friendly venues that are numerous in our area.

With all of that, what is there not to love about being an IKEA city?

In closing, on behalf of the Jacksonville City Council, and the residents of District 11, I want to officially “Welcome IKEA to Jacksonville!” on this special “Ground Breaking” occasion.”

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