In a not-so-surprising move last night (8.17.17), the Lakeland IDB (Industrial Development Board) did not approve a development agreement with Yehuda Netanel, developer of The Lake District.
During a special called meeting at City Hall, members of the IDB listened to Mr. Netanel describe the tenants he expects to have at the property as he displayed a newly created 3D photo version of the 160-acre project which he originally announced in April 2016. The location is to be at the site of the former factory outlet mall on the southeast corner of Canada Road and I-40.
Josh Roman, Lakeland vice mayor and liaison to the IDB, interrupted Mr. Netanel, saying he appreciated the update but he could not in good conscience recommend entering into any agreement.
Asking if he could speak again, Mr. Netanel said, “I respect and understand what you are saying.” He then outlined retailers he says are on board for the new shopping area: Starbucks, a grocery store he likened to Bruno’s or Seessel’s (former grocery chains in Memphis and Birmingham, AL) and Aspen Dental. He further described how there would be kayaks floating on rapids in the man-made lakes.
IDB Chair Steve Laster noted that Mayor Wyatt Bunker was in attendance and asked if he would like to speak. Mayor Bunker addressed IDB members, saying that after careful consideration, he thought the next move was the developer’s and not the City’s. “The project has to stand on its own. The people in our City have been on an emotional roller coaster. It’s not good for them or good for our reputation. I ask that this Board carefully consider not to vote to approve.”
Speaking to Mr. Netanel, Mayor Bunker said the decision is business and not personal.
The only item on the meeting agenda, to amend a development contract with Mr. Netanel for The Lake District, was deferred until Sept. 28, pending developments regarding the land foreclosure. That is the date for the regular IDB/EDC (Economic Development Commission) monthly meeting.
The property auction is at 11 a.m. Sept. 8 on the Shelby County Courthouse steps.
City officials were surprised by a notice posted in The Daily News about the foreclosure. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/Search/Details/ViewNotice.aspx?id=Fmd57642&date=8/16/2017 . The IDB meeting was set before there was knowledge of the foreclosure.
In a statement from City Hall yesterday, Jim Atkinson, Lakeland city manager, 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.”
Mr. Netanel said today of the decision last night, “I am making arrangement to negotiate and pay off the note.”
He believes the lender issue will be cleared and a development agreement will be signed in September, thus allowing The Lake District to move forward.
There is a regularly scheduled EDC (Economic Development Commission)meeting on Aug. 24 at City Hall.
Link to background story in LC: https://lakelandcurrents.com/could-foreclosure-mean-no-go-for-tld/
… IDB photo by Lakeland Currents.