LAKELAND, TN (WMC) - Lakeland began the process of creating a new development project where Lakeland Mall once thrived.
Construction crews began tearing the vacant mall down at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The vacant building is being torn down to make room for a 160+ acre development project known as The Lake District.
"I think it's going to be phenomenal and turn this area of the expressway into something that's an attraction," County Commissioner Heidi Shafer said.
The expectation is that the attraction will bring people from across Tennessee to Lakeland, and eventually it will generate around $4 million annually. That kind of money could potentially improve the lives for people across Shelby County.
"It means better schools. It means better roadways. It means more economic development will breed more economic development. It's critical," Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker said.
"Every construction project, especially like this, will have bumps in the road," developer Yehuda Netanel said.
Those bumps, including much back and forth between the developer and local officials, meant much of the area for the development sat vacant since 2007.
"It's a day that we've all been patiently waiting for and working hard to make sure it happens," Netanel said.
The Lake District will include areas for shopping, dining, hotels, and an entertainment space. For more information about The Lake District, click here.
Officials said the project won't be completed until at least 2020.