Summit reveals plans
for 8-story downtown office

Barry Friedman



September 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm  -  Summit Consulting is negotiating with the city of Lakeland to buy a key property on Lake Mirror and build an eight-story office building there. It’s being hailed as the largest downtown construction project in decades, and supporters say it will transform the skyline, bring 500 mostly high-wage jobs downtown and spur more private development.

The public is getting its first glimpse at plans for a 135,000-square-foot office building that includes 450 parking spaces via conceptual designs Summit has submitted for review by the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority.


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Economic development Commissioners consider approval of a recommendation to negotiate an agreement with FURC1, LLC for the sale and development of 313 & 321 N. Massachusetts Avenue. Review the presentation here.

LEDC asks the city to change
its new-business incentive strategy

Dixieland, Lake Morton, and other downtown residential areas that were created a century ago, are being eyed by new developers who must find ways to look to the future without ignoring the past.


Marilyn Meyer



Feb 15, 2019  -  The city of Lakeland is taking a close look at how much it spends to incentivize business growth and where the dollars come from, after an economic development group suggested changes.

Following a recent presentation by Steve Scruggs, president of the private, non-profit Lakeland Economic Development Council, city commissioners expressed willingness to consider a tactic different than the current incentive of paying cash rebates after the creation of high-paying, highly skilled jobs.

Although the incentive has been available for years – averaging $120,000 a year over the past 10 years – commissioners have not agreed to at least two new incentives he suggested, Scruggs said.

View Scruggs’ presentation here or at the end of this article.

As an alternative, he asked commissioners – and they agreed – to take a look at providing incentives that help businesses with infrastructure needs that will remain as investments in the community.


See for yourself -  The city's Director of Community and Economic Development, Nicole Travis, delivered a presentation and answered questions at a city commission workshop on the department's vision for one possible version of Lakeland's future.

This video focuses on the direct presentation. Review the original presentation here. The entire meeting can be seen here

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"Envisioning a
better downtown"

Allison Guinn

The Ledger


LAKELAND — A work of informed imagination — combined with far-ranging plans for the city — shows Lakeland’s downtown bridging the Florida Avenue chasm, bringing business to a new urban corporate park, crossing into an expanded entertainment area and, most of all, going up, up, up.

“Envisioning a Better Downtown,” a presentation combining geographic data with professional architects’ renderings, is clearly aspirational, but it’s a window into what city leaders today want for the Lakeland of tomorrow.

“We were really looking at putting something on paper that would get people excited, that was practical, that fits within our zoning regulations and the requirements for parking for this kind of density,” Community and Economic Development Director Nicole Travis said.


Commissioner Sara McCarley urges her colleagues and the city staff to be "nimble ... and educated financially", in order to be prepared for the imaginative development envisioned in the workshop presentation. Select the headline below to view the presentation at your now pace.

"I want people to dream with us and give us feedback,” she added. The concept is just a concept, and if something similar comes to Lakeland it won’t likely look like this block-by-block, “but this is a starting point.” - Nicole Travis


LDDA, City

Powerful vision for
Lakeland's future

During the city's recent Strategic Planning Retreat, LEDC President Steve Scruggs offered a dazzling and compelling version of a city on the cusp of a new era of economic development poised to move people and business into the central core by creating a master plan to attract both investors and residents. 

$11 million Heritage Plaza garage in downtown Lakeland gets green light

Kimberly Moore

The Ledger


The city’s skyline will begin to change in the next few months following the City Commission’s approval Monday of a new, six-story, 824-space parking garage on Heritage Plaza.

They also approved an option to build an adjacent, 35,000-square-foot office building that could house up to 700 employees.

“My staff and the city manager have been working on (this) for over a year,” City Attorney Tom McCausland told City Commissioners.


City unveils downtown garage plan



Some of Lakeland’s largest companies are coming together with the city to plan a 730-spot parking garage in downtown Lakeland.

The partners, announced Wednesday at the City Commission’s annual strategic planning retreat, comprise the city of Lakeland, Lakeland Regional Health, Mid-Florida Credit Union and the owner of Heritage Plaza, Aspyre Properties.


The structure, adjacent to Heritage Plaza on the block to the north of Orange Street and east of Tennessee Avenue is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million.

City Manager Tony Delgado said the breakdown of costs has yet to been determined, but the city is expected to pick up half the cost.


A lesson in how the world works

"If they weren’t aware of this phenomenon, the new majority on the Lakeland City Commission got a lesson in this last week.

"Steve Scruggs, president of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, approached the commission with plans for new incentive packages to bring companies to Lakeland."

The Ledger's Editorial Page Editor, Bill Thompson comments in a editorial published on Sunday, January 21.


You say incentive,

I say investment

Steve Scruggs, President of the Lakeland Economic Development Council made a formal presentation to the City Commission on Tuesday, January 16, on the subject of financial incentives offered to businesses who locate here or expand their current operations.

This clip highlights the discussion points and the entire presentation can be seen on the City's Vimeo page.

A detailed analysis of one such project - the GEICO expansion - can be found on the LEDC website along with a general discussion of how the process is designed to work.

E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad McLeod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Tony Delgado  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell