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Could Foreclosure Mean No Go for TLD?

A foreclosure notice in the Memphis Daily News yesterday (8.16.17) caused Lakeland citizens to question The Lake District (TLD) and its ability to ever come to fruition on the southeast corner of Canada Road and I-40.

The notice was for property at 3536 Canada Road owned by Lakeland Station Holding, LLC and Gilad Dev. Corp.  Link to the listing:

https://www.memphisdailynews.com/Search/Details/ViewNotice.aspx?id=Fmd57642&date=8/16/2017 .

Yehuda Netanel with Gilad is in Lakeland today to attend a special called meeting of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) to review and possibly act on a resolution approving a development contract for The Lake District Planned Development. The meeting was set before the foreclosure notice was posted, according to Jim Atkinson, Lakeland city manager.  The session is at 5:30 p.m. in the Lakeland City Hall conference room.  Link to agenda: https://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/687 .

In a statement from City Hall, Mr. Atkinson said:

“The City is aware of a foreclosure notice published in yesterday’s Daily News regarding Lakeland Station Holdings, LLC, the owner of 33 acres of property that is part of the Lake District project. 

“The City will be monitoring the situation as it progresses through the foreclosure date. No matter the outcome, the City is committed to stimulating private development of the Lake District project regardless of property ownership.

“The Lake District is an important project for the City of Lakeland but is only one of several projects that are currently in progress, including the new interchange, Bevele Rivera Road extension, the Lakeland Commons mixed use development, the 100-acre mixed-use development at Canada/Davies Plantation, new residential developments including Oakwood Grove, Kensington Manor, and Herons Ridge C&D, plus several smaller scale commercial projects including a new McDonald’s and the new Pet Hospitals of Lakeland facility.  

“The Industrial Development Board (IDB) is scheduled to meet tonight to consider a development agreement between the IDB and the developer of the Lake District. The meeting was scheduled prior to any notice of foreclosure. The meeting will be held as scheduled, but the IDB is expected to postpone action until the property ownership is confirmed.”

The urban village of retail, restaurants and residential spaces was announced in April 2016 to a standing-room only crowd at Stonebridge Golf Club.  Since the original announcement on the 160-acre project, the two pole signs on the former outlet mall have been removed. The structures which housed mall shops and a newer adjacent building still stand in disrepair, visible from the new I-40/Canada Road exchange.

Mr. Netanel explained the foreclosure by saying a new lender acquired the original lender which is liquidating all its loans and/or properties.  He expects either the foreclosure will be cancelled or he will buy back the property at a discount.

In a May Board of Commissioners meeting, Mr. Netanel introduced John Lowery from Ft. Worth, TX as his new 50-50 partner on the project.  Mr. Netanel today said, “John Lowery was unable to perform so we have severed that relationship.”

Asked if the development was still on task to demolish the existing structures and start a new hotel and restaurant this fall, Mr. Netanel said, “It means we may not do that in the fall. We are working with other potential investors to help with all the finances.”

He said he hopes the IDB will approve the development contract tonight and urges residents to voice their support for the contract and getting The Lake District on track.  “A delay tonight means a delay for the entire project.  I want everyone to understand we have come so far with our efforts.  We are on the cusp of a most beautiful project.”

He provided a new rendering of the project which he said is a 3D version of The Lake District.

In a released statement, Mr. Netanel said:

“I have been working on the Lake District for over 8 years. The original 35 acres mall site was purchased in 2007. The recession and the Tanger outlet mall made it impossible to develop the original site. The current version of the 160 acre Lake District demonstrates beyond words the commitment myself and my team have made to see a quality game changer development the community in Lakeland can be proud of.

“My personal 5 Million dollars and 11 years of relentless work is also a testament to our commitment.

“It is Lakeland’s time to shine with this signature project: The freeway interchange is getting its flower beds and the economic timing is great. Tenants are now looking at the rendering for the very first time and everyone is excited.

“Our original lender has been good to work with and was able to grant us extensions over the years.   In the last year they have been acquired by a large finance institution company that was just interested in seeing the loan repaid within a short period of time.

“We are working on securing a successful outcome for the land payoff issue.

“The TIF (Tax Increment Financing – a year’s extension was granted by the City in May) development agreement is a major step in helping the major investors pool feel that the project is well on its way. This development agreement is a crucial element to move the project forward.

“We are all better off with the Development Agreement being approved tonight so we can see The Lake District come a reality soon.”