Londoners holding out hope IKEA will open a full-sized store in the Forest City will want to pay attention to what happens at city hall Tuesday.
The city’s planning committee will review a proposed zoning change for the proposed site at Wellington Road South and Dingman Drive, brought forward by developer PenEquity and Goal Ventures Inc.
“What’s before the planning committee tonight is, basically an application for Site Plan ,” said councillor Stephen Turner before the meeting. “The zoning was approved back in 2013, and then it’s been pretty quiet since then.”
Turner says a public participation meeting will take place after 7:15 p.m. during Tuesday’s Planning and Environment Committee meeting to determine what the layout of the site will be. A public site plan review is required as the property is currently subject to a holding provision.
IKEA plans on hold in London
In July, IKEA announced it was putting its plans to open a full-sized store in London on hold, citing a “rapidly changing retail environment.” The company said it made the decision as it worked to evaluate a new solution for the site. The retailer currently operates a pick-up depot in the city. Despite the hold, a spokesperson for IKEA said the company remained committed to the London market.
The Swedish furniture giant has previously said it would like to purchase the land. It’s unclear what impact IKEA’s decision will have on Costco’s planned move of its London South store to the new development.
Construction on the site was set to begin this past summer, with the IKEA store set to open in fall 2019. A new timeline for when the London store is expected to open has not been provided.
The planned development spans 73,000 square metres of commercial space. The development includes two large commercial buildings — one for the IKEA, the other for a Costco with a gas bar — and nearly two dozen other smaller commercial buildings.
The application going before the committee Tuesday is to attain a Site Plan Control Approval. According to the city, Site Plan Control Approval process is to “ensure high-quality site design, engineering efficiency, building architecture, and landscape design.” Under the Planning Act, and in accordance with the Official Plan, “the City of London designates all lands within the city limits as a Site Plan Control Area.”
“In the site plan, it’s pretty clear that the area and the space that would be used has been designated for IKEA,” Turner said. “In fact, they’ve even got mockups with the IKEA drawings and the IKEA colours. This is really just making sure the way the site flows, the traffic moves through it, the way the retail is situated is all appropriate for that area.”
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