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The Week in Review


Welp, The Lake District is back on the financial precipice again, posing the latest questions for the troublesome plan in Lakeland.

You really had to see this coming, right?

The 160-acre, mixed-use development near the Canada Road interchange of Interstate 40 is in foreclosure, and an auction is set for March 24.

Yehuda Netanel of Gilad Development, the mastermind behind the plan, is facing another financial problem with the center.

And this isn’t the first time. There seems to periodically be financial woes or canceled tenants or missed predictions of completion.

A last-minute save in 2017 kept a previous sale on the courthouse steps from happening. While there have been optimistic steps taken with the project, there are many more steps backwards.

Announced businesses suddenly disappear or the owners decide against The Lake District plans and move on.

There are requests to changes to the plan. Questions about financing and whether Netanel and his folks can pull off the dream project.

Some of this is probably normal give and take in a development or can be painted as such by Yehuda and his folks. I’m not sure that a couple of foreclosures are routine.

Maybe they are.

The false starts with Netanel’s plans for the old factory outlet mall site are well-documented. He bought the property in 2006. An Americana plan with an electric train shuffling shoppers through the center was proposed shortly after it was purchased. Nothing became of that, partly because of the economic downtown. There were plans for an outdoor pedestrian mall that never got further than the drawings.

Then The Lake District was announced in 2016. Seven years later, it is only a percentage of what it looks like on the renderings and well beyond the anticipated completion date.

And now, it is in financial trouble again.

Lakeland officials say all the right things about the plan despite the setbacks. That they see it as a plus for the suburb. That it will produce a good return on sales tax revenue, and even incomplete, it sure looks better than the vacant, rundown, outdated outlet mall.

And that last one is true.

The question is, how much of the plan will actually be completed and whether it is Netanel or some other entity that finishes The Lake District. - Suburbs editor Clay Bailey 

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