Canberra could be one small step closer to a future of flat packed furniture and allen key assembly after a large a block of land near the airport received approval for retailing on Friday.
The site, long speculated to be a future home for Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, was subject to a re-zoning variation to allow industrial mixed use.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell said in a statement the 7.6 hectare site had been approved for ‘‘bulky goods retailing, warehousing, freight and distribution’’ after a variation was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in February.
“By rezoning land currently being used as a soil stockpile site for the construction of the Majura Parkway, the government has ensured the ACT will continue to provide ongoing economic and employment opportunities in the region,” Mr Corbell said.
The land is yet to be sold by the government.
Ikea continues to remain tight lipped about a possible expansion into Canberra, with requests for comment so far unanswered on Friday.
Mr Corbell said the approval was in keeping with the ACT’s planning strategy, which identifies the eastern side of the territory for potential future employment and industrial use.
A public consultation attracted 11 submissions from members of the public, including eight which were critical of the plan.
“I am pleased that Variation 324 has now commenced, securing ongoing economic and employment opportunities in the region,’’ he said.
In August, the Canberra Times reported the retailer was interested in a site in the proposed Majura Parkway Estate.
The large commercial development is planned to go opposite Canberra Airport alongside the upgraded million Majura Parkway.
Ikea already dominates furniture retailing in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, as well as 25 countries.
The store would join US grocery discounter Costco and a large Woolworths outlet in the precinct.
Mr Corbell also announced a variation to the Territory Plan allowing a large scale revitalisation of aging public housing stock in Braddon and Reid.
The land include in that variation currently contains housing at Allawah Court, Currong Apartments and Bega Court, as well as some organisations linked to the Catholic Church.