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Ikea gets building permit for its shop in Ljubljana (adds)

Ljubljana, 08 August (STA) - The Swedish furniture giant Ikea obtained on Thursday a building permit for the shop it plans to build in Ljubljana's BTC City shopping district, the company said in a press release. Construction works are expected to start soon.

Vladislav Lalić, regional property and expansion manager at Ikea South East Europe labelled this a great success.

He thanked the Ljubljana municipality and experts at the Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning for their efforts to overcome "all obstacles that were in our way".

He said the construction would be conducted in several phases, but the store was expected to open about a year after the start of construction.

The company also selected CGP for building the store after repeating the call for applications. Given that two years have passed since the initial call for applications, in which Pomgrad was selected, Ikea wanted to "make sure our pick reflected the current market trends," the company told the STA.

The deal with CGP was closed last month.

Ikea filed for the building permit in March after Ljubljana city council unanimously decided at the end of February to change the municipal spatial plan to allow it to start building its store.

The councillors endorsed the decision allowing Ikea to apply for an operating permit even though the required access road south of the planned shop has not been built yet.

The land needed to build the access road leading from Kajuhova Street was supposed to be acquired by the local authorities, but the acquisition has been marred by ownership complications.

The land is owned by company Protect GL, which is in receivership, and the municipality has failed to come to an agreement on the price with the official receiver.

In the summer of 2016, the municipality launched expropriation proceedings, which were suspended last autumn on the municipality's own initiative, as it wanted the proceedings to be carried out under the new legislation.

Ikea will now be able to soon launch the construction of the shop, which could open its doors in 2020. The 30,000 sq-metre shop has been estimated at EUR 80m and is expected to bring around 300 jobs.

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