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ironchapman

Polk County Developments

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Hello!

I used to go to Lake Wales and Indian Lake Estates every year to visit my grandfather. I haven't been there since he died about four years ago.

I will be returning later this year. Just wondering what's been going on in Polk county and other nearby places.

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My family and I really enjoyed our recent outing to the revamped Cypress Gardens, although my son thought the rides were a bit tame.

On anotner note, the whole area around the Haines City I-4 interchange is absolutly exloding with development.

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All the growth in Polk County has been rapid sprawl, outside of downtown Lakeland, which has recently seen a couple of housing projects go up or be proposed. As far as sprawl goes, there's a new lifestyle center (mall) being built in South Lakeland, the Cypress Gardens area continues to see heavy residential & commercial development and the Four Corners area is still booming like it did in the 1990's.

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Heh heh...just as I remembered, suburbia!

The Cypress Gardens and Lakewood developments sound nice.

Thanks for what you guys have posted so far. Keep posting if you hear anything else.

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Im from LW. Whenever you were here last, I can say as far as downtown area goes it looks the same as the last time you were here. Nothing has changed. We are however getting a new CenterState Bank at Central Ave and Hwy 27. There is a new 3 story office building at Hwy 60 near the Publix Shopping Center. The area that is booming is on Hwy 27 north around the Eagle Ridge Mall Area. S.R. 540 between 27 and Winter Haven is booming. Winter Haven and Northern LW will probably become one town soon.

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^I'm originally from Winter Haven. I must say that even though its sprawl, its pretty amazing to see how fast all the old orange groves and cow pastures along SR 540 & Thompson Nursery Rd is being developed into houses, apartments, and strip centers. The Eagle Ridge area will probably be close to being built out totally, in the next 5 to 10 years.

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^I'm originally from Winter Haven.  I must say that even though its sprawl, its pretty amazing to see how fast all the old orange groves and cow pastures along SR 540 & Thompson Nursery Rd is being developed into houses, apartments, and strip centers.  The Eagle Ridge area will probably be close to being built out totally, in the next 5 to 10 years.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My best friend lives in Winter Haven, and I'm impressed by how the city maintains a numbered grid despite so many roads being cut off by lakes. :)

My impression of Polk County as a whole is how decentralized and haphazard the development is (like most of Florida)... But Lakeland impressed me with that "big small town" feel it has, with the occasional high-rise strewn about. Coming into town from Winter Haven/Auburndale via US 92 is pretty dramatic, with Lake Parker on one's right. My first trip there was to attend a convention at the Lakeland Center 10 years ago. US 98 was under construction at that time. I just wish they would finish I-4 already.

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^I think it re-opened about two or three years ago.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, I just read about it the other day.

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Anything else I should know? I'll be leaving for Lake Wales in about a week.

Here are some things I noticed over the weekend.

US 27 North (from Lake County line to SR 544 (just south of Haines City)

1. I-4's expansion is well underway.

2. US 27 is also being expanded from 4 to 6 lanes

3. The old Boardwalk and Baseball site is being converted into a mixed use development called Posner Center.

4. Housing developments continue to pop up like wild mushrooms.

I-4 at CR 532 (Polk/Osceola County Line)

http://www.championsgate.com/masterplan.asp

1. The two massive projects, Reunion Resort and Champion's Gate continue to grow radiply.

2. The new Omni Hotel highrise (I think about 17 stories) is open.

Winter Haven/Auburndale

1. SR 540 (Cypress Gardens Blvd) is getting a series of new developments, including a new shopping center, auto dealer, SuperWalmart and 900 unit apartment complex.

2. Eagle Ridge Mall now has an entertainment center in it that inlcudes a bowling alley.

3. A stretch of US 92, just west of Auburndale, that once consisted of mobile home parts is being redeveloped into a commercial corridor, following the recent opening of a Super Walmart. There's now a bank, Wendy's, A&W/Long John Silvers and another shopping center under construction. Lowe's is also negotiating to build a new store across the street.

Lakeland

1. The old Kraft Foods juice processing plant, off I-4, has been purchased and is in the process of being renovated into a new plant.

2. The old Owens-Illinois glass bottle plant, off of I-4 has been purchased by a glass manufacturer out of Utah.

3. There's a massive warehouse for Southern Wine and Spirits under construction right off the Polk Parkway.

4. Downtown Lakeland has several recently opened restaurants, deli's and coffee houses in the Munn Park Historic District.

5. The new mall (Lakeside Village) off the Polk Parkway is well under construction. Announced Tenants will include Belk, Kohl's and an 18 screen Cobb Cinema.

6. US 98, in North Lakeland, is being expanded too. New developments near Lakeland Square Mall, include a recently opened Target, Lakeland's second, a Smokey Bones and another Lowe's is planned for a former Walmart store that was abandoned when Super Walmart opened up the street a couple of years ago.

lsvplan20.jpg

lakesidenew2.jpg

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Thanks, Lakelander!

Good to hear about Eagle Ridge Mall getting that center.

Unforunately, I had to reschedule that trip for early July.

But thanks anyway.

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For more in depth information of everything proposed in Polk County in the last couple of months, click on this Polk Progress Report:

http://www.flsouthern.edu/PolkProgress/PolkProg4thQrt04.pdf

According to it, some projects, announced in the 4th quarter of 2004 include:

1. 30,000sf Pilot Bank office building in downtown Lakeland

2. Two big box stores, totaling 385,000sf at US 27 & I-4

3. Haverty's opening a 225,000 distribution center on SR33 & I-4 in Lakeland

4. New restaurants include Smokey Bones, Panera Bread, Whataburger, Romano's Grill and Picasso's Cup Art Cafe

5. Lowe's is building a new store in Bartow on Van Fleet Drive (SR 60)

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