Along with Slovenia being discovered as a hidden gem another story that seems to swing by on an annual basis is the one about IKEA opening a store in Ljubljana. However, before you get your hopes up, and perhaps postpone the purchase of a bookcase from another retailer, we present a brief history of the long-delayed project, with the implication that you may still have to leave the country for a visit.
The first news under the headline “IKEA Coming to Ljubljana” seems to come in April, 2014, with a report in the Slovenia Times that:
Swedish furniture giant Ikea is interested in buying a 84,000 square metre plot in Ljubljana's shopping district BTC, the business daily Finance reported on Tuesday. According to unofficial information, Ikea is in talks to buy the plot, owned by insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, for a sum between EUR 19.3m and EUR 22.7m.
The report quotes a spokesperson for BTC City as saying that it will be at least 18 months – until end last quarter of 2015 – before construction begins.
All’s quiet on the IKEA front until about a year later, March 2015, when the Swedish furniture giant signed a preliminary agreement on the purchase of a plot of land in Ljubljana's BTC City.
At around the time when construction was supposed to have been underway, the next news suggested that things were still at a preliminary stage. Ljubljana’s Mayor, Zoran Janković, no doubt as anxious as the citizens he presides over as to when he’ll be able to get a reliable supply of meatballs, easy-to-assemble furniture, free paper tape measures and pencils, announced in January 2016 that the board of the Swedish company had just confirmed plans to expand to Ljubljana. Reports in the Swedish media indicated that the store would now open in 2018.
Notably, the Mayor said in early 2016 that the negotiations with IKEA had already been going on for nine years.
Eighteen months later, and in September 2017 IKEA issued a press release saying that it had chosen the companies who would build its store and the needed infrastructure in Ljubljana, with the project now waiting for an environmental permit before the building permit could go force.
In February the Slovenian media reported that demolition work had already begun on the site of the proposed store, but that construction work, and indeed any further developments, remained in limbo due to the unresolved status of a planned access road.
On 7 June, 2018 the headline news was "IKEA gives Janković an ultimatum". The report states that the firm “has found a solution in a new spatial planning law that allows investors to request an emergency procedure for changing the relevant zoning plan. It filed the application on 4 June.” On June 19 it was reported that the company would need to conduct a traffic study to show that a new road between Kajuhova and Ameriška streets should be constructed to provide access to the planned store.
A further report in October 2018 said that the project was still on hold until Ljubljana Municipality agreed to build the road.
In February of this year, some months after the store was original due to open, Ljubljana City Council unanimously endorsed a decision that allowed IKEA to finally start building its store in BTC City, even though the required access road south of the planned centre has not yet been built due to ownership complications. The report concludes that IKEA will soon start construction of the 30,000 sq-metre store, which could open in 2020 and provide around 300 jobs.
Related: BTC City as a Food Destination