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LAKELAND, Tenn. — Construction on a multimillion-dollar development is underway in Lakeland.

Developers broke ground for the Lake District on Canada Road. They said the now-empty 160 acres will be filled with restaurants, shops, apartments, town homes and even a 10-acre lake in the next few years.

The project is expected to bring millions of dollars annually to the City of Lakeland.

“There’s a lot going into this, and it has been for over five years now,” said Maggie Gallagher, director of development for the Lake District.

Construction for the Lake District is finally in motion.

Developers said when finished, the nearly $400 million project will have a variety of retail shops, restaurants and entertainment spaces.

Officials said there will also be enough housing to accommodate nearly 2,000 people.

Developers said it’s all about bringing the city to the suburbs.

“You’ve got a walkable community here where people can come and spend half the day and mill around and go to a movie and stop on the way home and get their groceries,” Gallagher said.

Developers said the project is split into two phases. Phase 1 focuses on construction of retail and entertainment centers. Phase 2 will consist of more shops but also town homes, apartments and single-family homes.

Lakeland resident Lloyd Walters said he’s watched the city grow over the years, but this type of development is a push in the right direction.

“We always need a new development,” Walters said. “You know, grow and help the economy and help things grow.”

Developers said when complete, the project is expected to bring in nearly $3 million annually to the City of Lakeland, with half of the revenue going towards education.

Shops are expected to start opening up in the Lake District later this year.