by Matt Wright
As you’re probably aware, there’s been a great deal of speculation surrounding the opening of the Chick-Fil-A in The Lake District. The $400 million mixed-used development, which is located at I-40 and Canada Road, announced the agreement with the fast-food retail giant back in December of 2022. Since that time, not much news has been released leading some to speculate there could be issues because of The Lake District’s filing for Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) reorganization in March 2023. However, things are still proceeding nicely with Chick-Fil-A, that according to a recent update from Lakeland City Manager, Michael Walker. In an online statement Mr. Walker stated city engineers have completed the process of reviewing the Chick-Fil-A building plans, and city staff is currently processing the Chick-Fil-A building permit in conjunction with Shelby County.
Several months ago, the Lakeland Board of Appeals played a crucial role in facilitating the approval of a variance required to initiate the much-anticipated project. City Hall staff have emphasized that access to the site, both entering and exiting, will be ample as well as many parking spaces. According to plans, the parking area will encompass a total of ninety-two (92) spaces, including four (4) designated for handicapped individuals. While the Lakeland Land Development Regulations permit a maximum of seventy-nine (79) spaces, the applicant successfully obtained a variance from the Board of Appeals on December 19, 2022, granting an additional thirteen (13) spaces. Not only will the Lakeland Chick-Fil-A be the largest in Shelby County, but there will also be spaces on the south side of the property reserved exclusively for pickup orders.
When reached for comment Yehuda Netanel, the developer of The Lake District, said he was still excited about Chick-Fil-A coming to the development, but he expressed frustration for how long it takes for the approval process to play out. “Getting permits and code inspections has been notoriously slow (in Shelby County). It raises the cost for everyone involved and delays are sometimes three to seven months out,” he said.
If you would like to view the Lakeland Chick-Fil-A Site Development Plans, please click here.