Flatpack city: Ikea to assemble an entire London district

 

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The Independent Online

One can only hope that nobody loses the instructions.

Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant whose build-it-yourself flatpack wares have delighted and baffled millions of home improvers in equal measure over the years, is to build its first neighbourhood in Britain.

The company's blue and yellow flag will fly over a 26-acre canal-side site which, it claimed yesterday, will eventually resemble a "mini Venice" outside the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

Strand East will include 1,200 houses, nearly half of which will be family homes, as well as shops, cafés and a 350-room hotel – all linked by car-free walkways.

Those preferring to make their way by river will be able to use moorings, a water taxi service and even a floating cocktail bar. Cars will be parked underground, while rubbish will be removed by underground suction tunnels.

It is the second biggest private investment in the Olympic Park after the Westfield shopping centre, and will be the first major British development for LandProp, part of the Inter Ikea Group, the company's investment arm.

London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, described the estate as "yet another great example of the 2012 legacy rippling out of the Olympic Park".

The first Ikea outlet was opened at Älmhult, a small Swedish village, in 1953. It now has more than 300 stores in nearly 40 countries.

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