Home Business Lake District Agreement Expires. Ownership Changes Hands But What’s Next?

Lake District Agreement Expires. Ownership Changes Hands But What’s Next?

Part of The Lake District at I-40 and Canada Road in Lakeland, TN.

The Lake District officially went to auction on the courthouse steps in downtown Memphis today, May 14, 2024, but no new buyer emerged. Ownership officially reverted to the current lender, TIG Romspen who will now negotiate with any interested party, including the possibility of a brand new developer or even a renegotiated deal with the original developer, Yehuda Netanel. The events unfolded after an agreement lapsed which would have allowed Mr. Netanel to secure a new round of funding. Lakeland Currents reached out to Mr. Netanel this afternoon for a statement but he said he could not comment at this time.

On April 23, 2024, Mr. Netanel told Lakeland Currents that all parties had agreed to a settlement and the bankruptcy judge signed off on that agreement. The foreclosure on The Lake District, which was brought from TIG Romspen, was originally asking the courts for $60 million from The Lake District. However, the parties agreed to a reduced settlement which Mr. Netanel said would have paid off TIG Romspen, as well other parties including contractors and some tenants that are owed money. At that time Mr. Netanel said he was proceeding to new funding with New York-based lender Vision Global Capital Resource Inc. and would be moving forward with the project which officially begin construction in late 2019. He even hinted at new store announcements coming soon. However, that funding did not come through in time to meet today’s deadline.

Yesterday, Lakeland Mayor Josh Roman told a Memphis media outlet he’s been a big proponent of the $450 million, 160 acre mixed-used development but had concerns about Mr. Netanel’s involvement moving forward. In a May 13, 2024 article by Corey Davis with The Memphis Commercial Appeal, Mr. Roman said he’s always supported Mr. Netanel and that he admired his vison for the project. However, in his opinion the project could be handled better if another developer came forward. Whether those statements had anything to do with the funding not being completed is unclear. When asked, Mayor Roman told Lakeland Currents he could not comment on the most recent developments today.

Ribbon cutting for Villa Castrioti at The Lake District on January 5, 2023. LC file photo.

Lakeland Currents spoke with Brian Leith earlier this morning, one of the owners of Villa Castrioti Italian Restaurant, a tenant at The Lake District. Mr. Leith said he was hoping the funding for Mr. Netanel would have been finalized and thought it would be. “I met the new lenders, they came to our restaurant and they seemed really excited about the project,” he said. Mr. Leith said his establishment has done very well at The Lake District and he even had a handshake deal with Mr. Netanel to build a wine bar in phase two. But he also understands the frustration of things not moving along faster in the development. “He [Mr. Netanel] was always upfront with us and said this was going to take time but it took more time than most people wanted and that’s understandable.” Mr. Leith also said his success at The Lake District has spring boarded Villa Castrioti into their third location which will open in downtown Nashville this summer.

While future ownership hangs in the balance, the seventeen shops and restaurants at The Lake District are open and day to day operations are not expected to be impacted. “We are still really excited about this project [The Lake District] and we look forward to seeing what comes next,” Mr. Leith said.