Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 09:52pm

Aspen group group chief executive, M.Murly (centre), showing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng the location of the Ikea in Batu Kawan, Penang, January 10, 2014. Picture By K.E. OoiAspen group group chief executive, M.Murly (centre), showing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng the location of the Ikea in Batu Kawan, Penang, January 10, 2014. Picture By K.E. OoiGEORGE TOWN, Jan 10 ― Popular Swedish home furnishing store IKEA is expected to open at a planned shopping mall in Batu Kawan in mainland Penang, state chief minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

Planning permits for the store, Malaysia’s first outside Kuala Lumpur, is expected by the end of the year or at the start of 2015 and construction is expected to take about 5 years, indicating an opening date in 2020.

“There had been talk of an IKEA store opening here since 2007 but it never took off so finally, now, we will have an IKEA store here,” Lim said.

The new mall and the IKEA store are part of plans to develop Batu Kawan as the 24km second Penang bridge which connects the town to Batu Maung on Penang island opens to traffic soon.

In the last few months, Lim has announced several other development projects slotted for Batu Kawan, including a RM1 billion project consisting of an upmarket outlet shopping mall, a 300-room international-class hotel and a branch campus of Britain’s University of Hull.

Ikano Pte Ltd, the franchisee for IKEA in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, formed a joint venture with local company, Aspen Vision Land Sdn Bhd, to develop the integrated shopping mall in Batu Kawan, with IKEA as anchor tenant.

The joint venture company, Aspen-Ikano, bought the 245 acres of land from state agency, Penang Development Corporation for RM483.95 million.

The IKEA store and the first phase of the shopping mall will take up 30 acres while another 45 acres is to be set aside for phase two of the shopping mall and the remaining 170 acres for mixed development.