Lake District project gets reprieve until Sept. 15

Lake-District-conceptual-drawing-No1-040616The struggling $375-million Lake District development planned for the former Factory Outlet Mall in Lakeland got another reprieve on Friday, right on the brink of a planned foreclosure. The sale of some of the property was delayed seven more days until 2 p.m. Sept. 15 so that developer Yehuda Netanel could work out the details of a new agreement.

The auction was to be on Sept. 8 for the 33 acres of property owned by Lakeland Station Holding LLC and Gilad Development Corp. at 3536 Canada Road, Lakeland. Gilad is Netanel’s company, based in California.

This property is part of the Lake District’s planned 160+ acre mixed-use development at the former mall’s site, off Interstate-40 and Canada Road. Netanel also has a pending contract with Belz Corp. to buy some adjacent property, but it is not included in this foreclosure.

Netanel seems to have won back some of the City of Lakeland’s confidence with his recent financial moves: Lakeland City Hall confirms he has delivered a $20,000 check to cover legal expenses. He reportedly has paid his lender $1 million. He also recently requested and received a new developer’s agreement with the Lakeland Industrial Development Board to help him persuade tenants to join the project.

The new agreement, however, holds Netanel to a stricter standard, including the $20,000 payment, a December 2017 deadline to demolish the annex, and an April 2018 deadline to demolish the main mall building. Failure to do any of these things would mean he has breached the agreement.

The developer originally had a public presentation about the project for a large audience in Lakeland almost a year and a half ago. The plans for the Lake District include spaces for restaurants, stores, offices and even homes.