Construction on St. Louis IKEA officially underway -

Construction on St. Louis IKEA officially underway

(KMOV) -- Construction on the long-awaited St. Louis IKEA store got officially underway Tuesday morning.

Several local officials, including Mayor Francis Slay, attended the 10:30 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony, which took place in midtown St. Louis at the intersection of Duncan and S. Vandeventer. 

The 380,000 square-foot store will sit on 21 acres in the Cortex Innovation District. Cortex Pres. and CEO Dennis Lower spoke during the ceremony, saying IKEA will leverage other new development nearby. 

Lower said negotiations are underway for at least four new projects in the Cortex area.

The new IKEA will be the 41st location in the country. The two-story store will be built on top of a parking structure that will contain roughly 1,250 spaces. More parking will also be available in a lot to be constructed at Forest Park Ave.

Photos: IKEA breaks ground in midtown St. Louis

In addition, the store will feature three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area and a 450-seat restaurant serving Swedish and American dishes.

The project is expected to generate $250 million in new taxes and bring about 500 construction jobs. IKEA says it will hire 300 full-time workers upon the building's completion.

Company officials say the store will have a prominent perch in the new CORTEX research park and will be the first IKEA location in Missouri.

As part of the CORTEX district, CEO and President Dennis Lower said Cortex is working to raise approximately $10 million for a new MetroLink station on the Cortex campus.  Lower said CORTEX hopes to raise the money and get approval from Metro in a year.  If that happens, plans call for construction to begin in 2015 and the station to open by 2016.

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