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MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -
It is a big day for Swedish meatballs in the metro.
Just in time for the store's official groundbreaking Tuesday, Ikea is changing a street name in Merriam.
The store will sit on about 19 acres along the eastern side of Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive on Eby Street. That section will be renamed Ikea Way.
The new 359,000-square-foot store will open in the fall of 2014. It will be the 40th Ikea store in the United States and will employ 300 workers. It will include a children's play area, a 450-seat restaurant and a food market with Swedish delicacies.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was among those attending Tuesday's ground-breaking ceremony. The Swedish company was founded in 1943 and is known for its furniture and accessories.
"It brings more economic development to the Kansas City area and brings jobs and attracts new businesses and tourists," he said.
Ikea will be seeking employees in a number of areas including interior design, safety, customer service and warehouse. Jobs will be posted later this year. For more information, click here.
J.E. Dunn Construction company will build the store and hire about 500 workers.
Merriam Mayor Ken Sissom says the city has long tried to lure a major project to the property. He said development lawyers some months ago contacted Merriam officials to say that a large retail store was interested in the property.
They were stunned to learn it was Ikea, Sissom said.
"When they walked in, it was like, 'Oh, my God.' In fact, someone later told me this was like the Holy Grail of retail business,'" Sissom said.
Some customers travel hundreds of miles to shop at Ikea stores.
"There definitely was a void in the Midwest so we think this is a great location," Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth said.
The closest stores are now at the Mall of America near St. Paul, MN, near Denver, near Dallas and near Chicago.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Ikea breaks ground Tuesday for new Merriam storeMore>>
IKEA, the popular Swedish home furnishings retailer, is announcing plans Thursday for a proposed in Merriam. Take a look inside some of their stores from around the world on what to expect.More >>
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