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Outlet mall makeover wins panel's backing

By Linda Moore

The Lakeland Design Review Commission approved on Tuesday site plan elements for Lakeland Station, moving the redesign of the Lakeland Outlet Mall one step closer.

The site plan substantially beefs up the mall's landscape plan, adding plant-covered parking lot islands and a lake.

"It's going to be a significant improvement over what's out there. They're adding landscaping all over the site," said Jim Atkinson, Lakeland planning director.

The design committee also approved site plans for building elevations featuring the train station motif and a 25,000-square-foot addition.

The parking lot is now 100 percent asphalt but the approved plan will add landscape islands filled with shrubs and trees. And a grassy area between the main mall building and the Annex outparcel will be landscaped with a combination of native trees, wildflowers, shrubs and trees, Atkinson said.

The plan also included upgrades to the grassy area north of the mall at Interstate 40.

Mall owners Gilad Development Inc., based in Woodland Hills, Calif., is proceeding with an overhaul of the interior and exterior of the 29-year-old outlet mall. The rehab will incorporate an Americana theme with an electric train to carry customers through the mall and outside to the Annex.

The target date for completion is spring 2009, Yehuda Netanel, president of Gilad, told the Lakeland Planning Commission last month.

In keeping with the train theme, Netanel, would like to locate the Huff 'N' Puff train that was part of the old Lakeland amusement park.

"We'd like help from the community in locating the old locomotive. We'd like to bring it back, recondition it and put it on display," he said in January.

Also during the meeting the panel approved landscaping plans for a city-owned 35-square-foot median on Canada Road south of Interstate 40.

Bids for the landscaping were sent out this week in hopes of spring planting, Atkinson said.



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

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