Construction is starting this Spring on “Downtown West,” a new 22 acre retail, office and housing development located between Lake Wire and the current revamp of Bonnet Springs Park.
This site, approximately two miles from FSC, will be home to apartments, restaurants, hotels, shops and a walkway to RP Funding Center. The goal for this development is to expand the downtown west area and to urbanize it more, in addition to the urban core the RP Funding Center has brought.
The plan for construction includes two phases, which include multiple subphases.
Phase 1A includes two 7,500-square-foot buildings for shops and restaurants, in hopes of attracting the Lakeland community to the area. These buildings will be facing Kathleen Road just south of George Jenkins Boulevard.
Carter Vice President Jack Murphy told the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) that the developers are seeking out Jon Bucklew, founder of the popular downtown restaurant “The Joinery,” to see what possible restaurants local residents would want to see.
The following phase (1B) will include four buildings with four floors each, to total 300 apartments covering 10.33 acres on the eastern portion of George Jenkins Boulevard. The conceptual plan for the apartments shows that each apartment will have an average size of 915 square feet.
Phase 2 of construction includes one five-story and one four-story building, to include a total of 330 apartments, and 15,000 square feet of first-floor retail on 8.18 acres along Sikes Boulevard.
David Bunch, a principal with its owner, Lake Mirror Development Co. LLC, told the LDDA board members that he and others involved with the Bonnet Springs Park development are “very happy with the look and the urban feel” of the Lake Wire development.
The City of Lakeland’s design review team has met with the developers and architects of this project to update the plans due to concerns from city reviewers.
“They got an A-plus in terms of the things that LDDA put in the design guidelines,” the organization’s executive director Julie Townsend said. She went on to say that addressing Sikes Boulevard can be very difficult, but the designers did a great job of making it pedestrian-friendly with wide landscaping and sidewalks.
The main entrance to the site will be directly across from the southern end of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Sikes Boulevard at Prospect Street.
Chuck Barmby, the city’s business development and transportation manager said that city planners are excited about how Lake Wire connects with this new development and are working with the state Department of Transportation to “enhance the connection across Lake Wire.”
The owners of Bonnet Springs park are actually working with this development with the goal of a direct path from downtown to the park including sidewalks, tunnels and overpasses.