Herald News
By Tony Graf

JOLIET – Plans for and Ikea distribution center got the go-ahead from the city council Tuesday. The home furnishings retailer is looking to operate a giant facility at Laraway Road and Rowell Avenue.

The center, at almost 1.4 million square feet, will be in the Laraway Crossings Business Park. Ikea will receive goods in Joliet, manage inventory and distribute products to stores in North America, with a focus on the Midwest, according to a city memo.

Two phases are planned for the project, at the northwest corner of Laraway and Rowell;

-The center’s first phase, to be complete by September 2009, will be 646,000 square feet and create 100 to 150 new jobs. It will be on 42.23 acres.

“The building will be a blend of sandstone colors with the Ikea logo in blue and yellow,” the memo states. “A 120-foot-high structure containing a racking system will be centered on the building.”

-The second phase will add 29.48 acres and 760,000 square feet on the first phase building.

Ikea has 250 stores in 34 countries, including Chicago-Area stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg. In the United States, Ikea has 29 stores and four distribution centers. The Joliet facility is part of a plan to open three additional centers.

Ikea’s goal is to “use low prices to make well-designed, functional home furnishings available to everyone,” according to the store’s Web site,

On Tuesday, the council voted 8-0, with Councilman Warren Dorris absent, to approve the preliminary and final planned unit development for the Ikea project.

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