The flat-pack furniture revolution looks set to arrive in Canberra with Swedish giant Ikea understood to be in talks with the ACT government over a massive block in the city's east.
The Canberra Times understands the retailer is interested in a site in the proposed ''Majura Parkway Estate'', a large commercial development planned to go opposite Canberra Airport alongside the $288 million Majura Parkway road project.
Ikea, which has transformed the furniture trade in many Western nations with its promise to bring Scandinavian design principles to consumers at modest prices, operates massive retail warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
Canberra Airport has been trying to woo Ikea for several years to its retail park, which houses US grocery discounter Costco and Australia's largest Woolworths outlet. But it is believed Ikea is more attracted to land on the other side of Majura Road, which is being replaced by the Majura Parkway offering a huge boost to access to the site.
This year's territory budget contained $600,000 for ''assessment and design of infrastructure requirements to facilitate a potential commercial development in the vicinity of the Majura Parkway adjacent to the Canberra Airport commercial precinct''. If a deal can be clinched with Ikea, it will represent another step in Canberra's retail renaissance after the recent arrivals of Costco, Spanish style chain Zara and US computing giant Apple.
It would also cement the Majura Park area as the capital's centre of bulky goods retailing with other operators likely to want to be next to Ikea.
Both the ACT government and Ikea were coy about any deals when questioned on Wednesday.
Land Development Agency chief David Dawes said it would be ''premature'' for him to comment on any negotiations for the new retail park.
''The ACT government would welcome the arrival of a company as large as Ikea to Canberra,'' he said. ''It is inappropriate, and premature, for the government to comment on any commercial negotiations.''
The Swedish retailer, which operates more than 260 shops in 25 countries, was equally non-committal.
''Ikea has no announcement in regard to land in Canberra,'' a spokeswoman for the chain said on Wednesday. ''We are always on the lookout for new land across the east coast, however, we have no news to report at this stage and are focusing on our existing five stores.''