MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the future, Miami-Dade residents won’t have to trek north of the county line to shop at one of America’s favorite furniture stores.

On Tuesday, ground was broken for a new IKEA store which will be built near the intersection of the Dolphin Expressway and the Florida Turnpike Extension in Sweetwater.

Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono worked with IKEA in the effort to continue bringing commercial businesses to the area. The city annexed the land where Dolphin Mall sits in 2010 which more than doubled the city’s revenue.

“It was by design. We needed to bring in the commercial base to offset the residential base,” said Marono.

In addition to IKEA, the area under construction will soon be a mega shopping area with hotels, restaurants and possibly charter schools. Also, with Sweetwater in such close proximity to FIU, a private developer is building a 15-story dorm for students of the college.

The new 416,000 square-foot IKEA will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, three model home interiors and 50 room-settings.  Other family friendly features will include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the showroom, baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store and preferred parking.

William Estrada, a longtime Sweetwater resident, is proud of his little city that could.

“I think we passed the bad era and it’s time to move-on toward better things,” said Estrada. But Estrada wants to make sure that retail isn’t the only business to boom in area, “I have an associate’s degree in computer animation and graphic design and right now there’s nothing in the market for that. And that’s what we need, more opportunities. Out of every branch.”

Mayor Marono told CBS4’s Natalia Zea that he is currently working on landing some tech companies and FIU science labs within city the limits.

In the meantime though, landing IKEA and the businesses that may follow, is a considerable start.

The store will also have a 600-seat restaurant which will serve Swedish specialties including the popular meatballs with lingonberries.

This will be the 39th IKEA store in the U.S. and the fourth built in Florida.

The store, which will employ 350 workers, is scheduled to open next summer.


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