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Belz plans second project for Lakeland

By Shirley Downing

As Lakeland ponders a new urban village on its forested northern edge, another multi-use planned development will be unveiled Monday for the south side of town.

The 126-acre Lakeland Village will be discussed at 6:30 p.m. Monday before a joint session of the town's planning and economic development commissions.

The project site is south of the Factory Outlet Mall at Canada Road and Interstate 40. The land is bordered by the mall, Canada, Monroe and Canada Trace roads.

Lakeland Village is the newest planned development proposed in one of the fastest growing municipalities in Shelby County. Last week, officials heard details of a 1,200-acre Lakeland Green, proposed for the U.S. 70 and Canada Road area several miles north of the interstate.

"These are exciting times," Lakeland Commissioner Gerrit Verschuur, a member of the economic development commission, said Saturday.

The two proposed "upscale" projects "will give Lakeland more of an identity," he said.

Both developments are "walkable communities" and both have offered to provide municipal and civic space to the town, he said.

Lakeland Green is a new urbanism project that seeks to preserve the forest and natural terrain, while building small "hamlets" in the fashion of pre-World War II communities. Housing, shopping, business and churches would be in close proximity, which would mean less use of automobiles.

Lakeland Green is proposed for the family farm of Rudolph Jones and his sister Tandy Gilliland, and three other property owners. Some of the country's top urban planners and designers have been hired to fashion the community, using input from area residents.

Meanwhile, Lakeland Village would be built partially on the site of an old drag racing strip on property owned by Belz Enterprises.

As proposed, Lakeland Village calls for a mixture of commercial, office, residential above office/commercial, civic and community and open space, said planning commission chairman Don Bennett in his City Watch publication.

He said the plan calls for about 375 homes, and about 25 to 33 percent open space.

Lakeland Green, on the other hand, would keep about 50 percent green space, and include about 2,000 homes.

Verschuur estimated the Belz project would be built in the next two years, whereas Lakeland Green would be built in 5 to 15 years.



The preceding article is Copyright The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN.  

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