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IKEA – flat out building homes

publication date: Aug 14, 2010
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Two years ago IKEA launched its first flat pack home, now Swedish flat pack furniture specialist has made its first major foray into the UK property market by buying up a site next to the Olympic Park.

The Evening Standard reports that the purchase of the 13-acre Sugar House Lane site between the entrance to the park and Stratford High Street is part of a bid by Inter IKEA — the Swedish firm's investment arm — to launch its burgeoning residential business in the UK.

Chancellor George Osborne has rubberstamped a £438 million deal clearing the way for the post-Games redevelopment of the 500-acre site. It gives control of the land to the new Olympic Park Legacy Company and wipes out a debt acquired by the London Development Agency in buying up the site.

The new IKEA site comprises a series of redundant industrial warehouses and has development potential for as many as 1500 homes. The site is also expected to have several office blocks and warehousing aimed at the creative and film industries.

Although the company is a well-known name in the UK and appears on 18 stores across the country, the maturity of the retail market has kept it from creating IKEA-anchored developments in Britain. In Europe, it develops and anchors large shopping malls, and has focused on building housing-led regeneration schemes that do not include a store but retain the ‘IKEA vision’ of modern, simple design.