JOLIET – IKEA announced Thursday it will move forward with a plan first launched in 2007 to build a Midwest distribution center in Joliet.
The Sweden-based home furnishings retailer plans a 1.4 million-square-foot distribution center.
The facility would open in the Laraway Crossings Business Park, located at Illinois Route 53 and Laraway Road. Construction would start in the fall, and the facility would open in 2017.
IKEA now operates a "temporary" distribution facility in Minooka, company spokesman Joseph Roth said. "That will eventually be folded into Joliet," he said.
Roth said IKEA always planned to open the Joliet facility, although the timing changed since it was first proposed to the city.
"We knew long-term that we needed a distribution center for the Midwest," he said. "We were able to find the ideal location in Joliet."
He said the timing is right now because IKEA is adding stores. The company had 29 stores in the United States in 2007 and has 40 now. New stores coming to St. Louis, Memphis and Columbus, Ohio also will be served by the Joliet facility.
The original plan was to build the Joliet facility in two phases, Roth said. IKEA now plans to build it all at the same time.
Tweaks in the plan mean it will go back to the City of Joliet for approval again, Roth said.
The facility will be built on 72 acres and serve at least 10 IKEA stores, according to a news release from the company.
“We have known for some time now that Joliet was the perfect location for our distribution hub in the Midwest, so we are pleased our Midwestern presence has grown to the point where we need this terminal to be up and running in 2017,” IKEA U.S. CFO Rob Olson said in the news release. “We appreciate the City of Joliet’s cooperation and patience that allowed us to plan long-term and reach this point today.”