By Aimee Chanthadavong

IKEA is set to build its largest store in Melbourne’s north after receiving buildings approvals from the Victorian government.

IKEA property and expansion manager Richard Ansell said the 41,000 square metres Campbellfield store will be the largest IKEA store and the largest free-standing store in the southern hemisphere.

“The approval paves the way for IKEA to commence development of the new store which will be situated on the former Pipeworks site on the Western Ring Road, he said.

Ansell noted that the size and location of the new store would improve IKEA’s offering to its current and future Melbourne customers.

 “It will benefit our customers by providing an even wider range of well-designed products, more space to showcase our inspiring home furnishing ideas and improved accessibility for Melbournians,” he said.

“The Campbellfield store is a cornerstone of IKEA’s longer-term national expansion plans which will see a further three stores open by the end of 2015, bringing a total of nine stores to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

The new store will operate alongside the existing store in Richmond and the current development in Springvale, bringing the total number of IKEA stores in Australia to eight.

Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden said it would provide a $170 million boost to the local economy while creating up to 400 ongoing jobs and 700 construction jobs.

“Melbourne’s north is expected to grow significantly over the next 20 to 30 years so it’s vital that we provide the jobs, services, and retail choices close to where people live,” he said.

Construction of the Campbellfield store is due to commence in mid-2011 with the store scheduled to open in mid-2012.

IKEA has also scheduled the opening of two stores in late 2011 – one in Tempe, Sydney and  one in Melbourne’s Springvale.