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THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL

TUESDAY MORNING,  NOVEMBER 16, 2004

Lakeland officials embrace 126-acre Belz development

By Shirley Downing

Concept plans for a mixed-use development at Interstate 40 and Canada Road received a generally warm reception Monday night from Lakeland officials who must approve the 126-acre project.

"I am very enthused about the degree of sophistication you have spent on your initial presentation," Lakeland Planning Commission chairman Don Bennett said. "We have a really good idea of your concept. The comments you have heard here are minor."

Belz Enterprises proposes a "village" with homes, offices, business, retail, civic, church and recreational use on land south and east of the Factory Outlet Mall. Part of it would be at the site of a drag strip that closed in the late 1970s.

Lakeland Village would have about 375 homes, 35 acres of green space, 217,000 square feet of retail, office and commercial space and 70,000 square feet of civic space, said planner Chuck Downham of Looney Ricks Kiss.

Once the plan, with adjustments, is approved, the development likely would be completed in five to seven years.

The "concept" plan was presented to a joint session of Lakeland's planning and economic development commissions, whose members asked questions and offered suggestions on concerns ranging from traffic routes to lot sizes.

"I do endorse it," city engineer Karen Jarrett said. But she was concerned whether roads as designed would be adequate.

About 60 Lakeland residents watched the almost two-hour presentation. One observer was architect Rudolph Jones, who has proposed a 1,200-acre development on his family's farm and neighboring land several miles to the north at Canada Road and U.S. 70.

After the presentation Jones said he applauds the Belz project because it offers an alternative that could help Canada Road avoid becoming another Germantown Parkway.

 

 


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

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