Construction for St. Louis' IKEA store is underway as of Tuesday morning, when public officials and store representatives broke ground with emblematic blue and yellow shovels.
The groundbreaking marks the official start to construction on the 380,000 square-foot store scheduled to open in fall 2015 in the Cortex Innovation District.
"This is a celebration of economic progress in a neighborhood that is swiftly becoming the cornerstone of this city's argument for the possibility of urban revitalization and smart, inclusive, entrepreneurial development," says Secretary of State Jason Kander.
Until now, the closest store to St. Louis was 250 miles away.
IKEA says the new store will create 500 jobs during construction and 300 retail jobs upon completion. The store will eventually hold more than 10,000 exclusively-designed items, three model home interiors and a supervised children's play area. Food markets and a 450-seat cafeteria will serve cookies, cheese, hot dogs, frozen yogurt and, yes, the store's famous Swedish meatballs.
See also: -Sorry, St. Louis, Those I-K-E-A Letters Were A Total Fake Out -Worst Kept Secret in St. Louis: IKEA to Bring Touch of Sweden to the Lou -Nashville is Jealous of St. Louis' New IKEA -Expedite STL: St. Louis IKEA Delivery Business Rethinks Strategy with New Store on the Way