St. Louis' future IKEA store hit a construction milestone this week.
Now that the steel framing is up on the 380,000-square-foot store along I-64 at Vandeventer Avenue, the Swedish furniture retailer is installing the recognizable blue paneling along the walls. IKEA's architectural style is famous for implementing blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag.
IKEA says the installation of the blue panels ensures that the store will be ready for its projected opening date in fall 2015.
"With the IKEA St. Louis' structure significantly formed and blue paneling now going up, we definitely are on track for a grand opening next fall," says Rob Olson, chief financial officer for IKEA U.S. "We hope to be enclosed fully within several months and cannot wait to begin transforming the building's interior to look like an IKEA store as well."
IKEA St. Louis will house nearly 10,000 items, three model home interiors, a children's play area and a 450-seat restaurant.
Starting this spring, the store will begin hiring 300 employees for sales, decorating, customer service, security, cashier, management and warehouse jobs. IKEA is hiring about 70 food service workers to staff its restaurant, Swedish food market, cafe bistro and the employee cafeteria.
IKEA officially began construction in June, and the erection of the store's steel framing structure started in October. IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth says it's hard to know how long exterior construction will take in Missouri, where winter weather can cause serious construction delays.
"Having just opened a store in the Kansas City area, we know how harsh the winters can sometimes be, not just harsh but unpredictable," Roth says. "We're just trying to get as much done as possible as soon as possible."