Just outside Memphis in Lakeland, TN, lies a spacious parcel of land with a wonderful location — at the junction of I-40 and Canada Road — and over the years, this acreage has seen some action. Opened in 1960, Lakeland International Raceway once called this property home, and the “father of drag racing,” Don Garlits, set national speed records there in the ’70s. In 1971, the cult movie classic Two-Lane Blacktop filmed many of its famous racing sequences on the tracks. But in 1979, the site began a new life as an outlet mall and attracted bargain-hunters to a then-popular style of enclosed shopping. By the mid-2000s, however, the retail spaces fell vacant, and the parcel of land awaited a new incarnation.
Now the wait is over. On February 5, 2020, an official groundbreaking began the transformation of the 160+ acres into The Lake District – an upscale, walkable, mixed-use development built around a 10-acre lake. To offer comfort and beauty to patrons and residents alike, the development will incorporate five districts:
- Inline retail: An easily-accessible destination offering upscale retail, entertainment, health and wellness, and hotel brands
- Main Street: The heart of the mixed-use development, including chef-driven restaurants and cafés, curated retail, and luxury apartments
- Office: High-end spaces with easy access to all amenities
- Hotel: Two premier, on-site hotels allowing guests to experience everything the district offers
- Residential: Custom-built single-family homes with the look and feel of an established community
The company charged with breathing life into the project is Gilad Development, Inc. Owner and founder Yehuda Netanel is a veteran developer and visionary with more than 45 years in the industry. He is ably seconded by Director of Development Maggie Gallagher, who is the voice of The Lake District, in charge of marketing and leasing. Together Maggie and Yehuda have put together a Memphis-based team for The Lake District that includes local attorneys, builders and realtors.
The Master Plan for the district was developed by renowned local architects LRK, who will provide guidelines to builders to ensure each home and retail establishment maintains the vision’s integrity and cohesiveness. The development will incorporate water features, mature landscaping and public parks.
Phase 1 is scheduled to open in time for the 2020 holidays. This includes 132,000 square feet of inline retail and restaurant space, 15 outparcels, 109 townhomes and two hotels. “The Lake District will combine an urban feel with the connectivity you find in a village,” Maggie explains. “Residents will have walking trails, beautiful landscaping to enjoy and as much social life as they want.”
In addition, the area is designed to be a regional shopping and entertainment destination.
“The way that people shop today has changed,” Maggie says. “People want more than just a place to buy things. We like to park once, mill around for the day, eat, meet with friends and have some fun. At The Lake District, we are carefully selecting the stores, eateries and entertainment that align best with our vision of being a unique shopping and lifestyle destination.”
Retail, restaurant, entertainment, and health and wellness venues scheduled for Phase 1 include a nine-screen Malco Theatre, Gloss Nail Bar, Osaka Japanese Cuisine, Gould’s Salon and Spa, Starbucks, Frida’s Restaurante Mexicano, Germantown Village Wine and Liquor, and an Elite Total Health walk-in clinic.
Phase 2 of the development is scheduled to open in 2022 and will include 176,000 square feet of Main Street retail and restaurant space, 171 single-family homes, 396 apartments located above retail space, 168 age-restricted apartments and 75,000 square feet of office space.
The Main Street district will be the centerpiece of the urban village, with luxurious apartments located above specialty boutiques and locally owned cafés, waterfront fine dining, and public space for live music and community events. “There has been enormous interest in the residential area,” Maggie says. “In fact, we moved up building townhomes from Phase 2 to Phase 1 because of the demand.”
Potential residents can choose from a variety of architectural styles, floor plans and finishing details for a custom-built home. The goal is to have a neighborhood with mixed styles and an established feel – no cookie-cutter homes here, Maggie adds. The development will draw families attracted by Lakeland’s school district and empty-nesters looking to downsize, and retirees will love the age-restricted apartments located in an exclusive area next to a nature preserve. All residents will be able to step outside and take a stroll to shop, play or exercise.
Every aspect of The Lake District is designed with intentionality to make living – and visiting – special. According to Yehuda, the end result will be like a symphony: “All elements of The Lake District – from the scenic lake and walking trails, restaurants, entertainment, boutique shopping, unique housing, apartments and sophisticated architecture – are manifested in the music.”
To learn more about The Lake District and its progress, visit thelakedistrict.us. All images provided by Gilad Development, Inc.
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