At Lakeland’s Industrial Development Board (IDB) meeting held in June, Shawn Massey, who works for TSCG (The Shopping Center Group), told board members things are progressing nicely at Ashmont, the planned mixed used development at Canada Road and Davies Plantation Road.
Among other things, Mr. Massey updated the board about the post-Covid commercial real estate climate in the area. His update to the board was timely considering the milestones that have taken place recently including the recent land disturbance permit for Ashmont. The development is part of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) project in Lakeland commonly referred to as the Gateway TIF. Officials have said the Gateway TIF will help overall the Canada Road area as part of that project also includes the YMCA project as well as the possible removal of The Relax Inn.
With the Ashmont development Lakeland will have three mixed-use projects either open or underway, including Lakeland Town Square and The Lake District. Mr. Massey, who is a retail specialist and partner with TSCG, highlighted the city’s strong position while speaking to the IDB. He said Lakeland’s quality schools, redevelopment and ambitions in parks and rec, among other things, bodes well for Lakeland’s future.
According to Mr. Massey Memphis currently has less than a 3% vacancy rate and that U.S. retail vacancy rates have dropped below pre-pandemic levels. Massey said vacancies are the lowest it’s ever been in Memphis and that the area is experiencing “the Roaring ‘20s of retail now.” He emphasized that the big box retail (ex: Wolfchase Mall) is passing and Lakeland’s stance on smaller footprints is more ideal to compete in the current and future retail market.
Also of note, Mr. Massey said that Ashmont has around 80% of the available commercial space in the Letter-of-Interest phase or further along showing promising signs for the development. The newest architectural renderings for both commercial and residential for Ashmont are still slated to be presented to the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) in the coming months.