Study Envisions Bus Rapid Transit on US 98 Between Downtown and I-4 Area
The Florida Department of Transportation is investigating different scenarios to bring bus rapid transit to the U.S. 98 corridor between downtown Lakeland and Lakeland Square mall, Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. Planners have identified several potential stations and three possible service levels.
The City Zen Ship asked the City's Transportation Manager, Chuck Barmbly the "Who, What, Where, When, Why and How" of it. Read his answers here.
the LEDC want?
"The LEDC is constantly dreaming about Lakeland’s future. We are always brainstorming new ways to improve our community, to make it more attractive to the next generation. Not everything we try works, but failure doesn’t define who we are; it teaches us lessons that will help us make better decisions in the future."
Summit Downtown Headquarters Gets Design Approval
Feb 17, 2020 - New angles on a design for Summit Consulting’s planned downtown headquarters didn’t change commissioners’ positive feelings for the lakeside office building, which received a 5-0 vote of approval Monday.
The additional renderings were provided by architect Brad Lunz of The Lunz Group at the request of commissioners who, though supportive of the design, wanted to provide more information to residents concerned the building would clash with the Frances Langford Promenade and its loggia.
“We haven’t had a lot of building downtown in decades — certainly there are people who love their downtown, they love our beautiful view of the loggia, they love historic buildings like the Terrace (Hotel) and the (Lake Mirror) Tower,” Commissioner Stephanie Madden said, describing the emails and comments she got about the design.
MEMORANDUM TO: MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSION
FROM: CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
DATE: February 17, 2020
RE: Summit Office Building
Review of Architectural Design Plans
The attached architectural drawings are submitted for the City Commissions’ review and approval as it deems appropriate. It should be noted that the project’s site plan is currently under review and there are outstanding items that remain to be addressed. As a result, it is recommended that the City Commission’s approval be conditioned such that, in the event that any modifications to the site plan result in changes to the exterior architectural design of the Office Building other than modifications of a minor nature, further City Commission review and approval shall be required. Modifications of a minor nature would be approved by the Director of Community and Economic Development.
Brad Lunz updates the Commission on the progress of the architectural design
Commissioners got an update and some urging from Steve Scruggs, Executive Director of the non-profit Lakeland Economic Development Council regarding the city's future plans for managing development and growth.
Learn more at the LEDC website
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.
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.
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
Powerful vision for
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
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.
READ MORE HERE
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.