IKEA proposes opening Jacksonville, Fla., store in fall 2017

A screenshot of the IKEA website.
A screenshot of the IKEA website.

One popular Swedish retailer could soon be a two-and-a-half-hour drive instead of nearly four from Beaufort County.

IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, recently announced it is submitting plans to the City of Jacksonville, Fla., for a store that would increase the company's presence in the southeastern U.S. with a fifth store in Florida. Pending approvals, construction of IKEA Jacksonville could begin next summer, with an opening in fall 2017.

Located approximately 10 miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville, the 294,000-square-foot proposed IKEA store and its 1,200 parking spaces would be built on 25 acres along the northwestern corner of Interstate 295 and Gate Parkway.

IKEA Jacksonville would feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children's play area, and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other features include a "Children's IKEA" area in the showroom, baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store and preferred parking. In addition to the more than 500 jobs that are expected to be created during the construction phase, approximately 250 people would be employed at the Jacksonville IKEA.

There are currently more than 370 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 41 in the U.S. The nearest IKEA store to Beaufort County is in Charlotte, at 8300 IKEA Blvd.