Farm Credit Moving to New Downtown Building

Soon after workers started prepping the site for an 824-space parking garage downtown last week, Farm Credit of Central Florida announced it will occupy half of the three-story office building being built along with the garage.

The rural lender serving 13 Central Florida counties plans to move its headquarters late next year from 115 Missouri Ave., formerly the home of People’s Bank, to the 40,000-square-foot office building being built along Orange Street between Tennessee and Kentucky Avenues.

The move has special meaning to Wesley Beck, whose Aspyre Properties is developing the office building. His late father, James Lee Beck, was president of Farm Credit of Central Florida from 1967 to 1989.

Artist’s rendering shows the office building and garage from the corner of Orange and Tennessee.

“He knows Farm Credit and understands our mission. We could not think of a better partner for this venture,” President and CEO Reggie Holt said via a news release.

“My dad spent his entire career with Farm Credit, over 30 years,” Beck said in the same release. “I grew up my whole life around Farm Credit. I know the system, I am actually a shareholder. All of the makings for a good relationship are there.”

The deal was brokered by David Buckner of Buckner Commercial Properties, and the news release credits the Lakeland Economic Development Council with connecting the organizations.

The garage is a joint venture between Beck’s BKP Five, the city of Lakeland, Lakeland Regional Health and MidFlorida Credit Union.

The garage and office building are being built on what was until last week a surface parking lot next to Heritage Plaza. It is bounded by Orange Street on the south, Tennessee Avenue on the west and Kentucky Avenue on the east.

Parking in the garage will be divided among the four partners based on their level of investment in the project. Beck’s company is getting 125 spaces in exchange for its donation of the land, which City Manager Tony Delgado said has been appraised between $1.5 million and $1.6 million.

The city of Lakeland is getting 399 spaces, based on its investment of nearly $6.3 million; Delgado said in December that 20 to 40 spaces on the ground floor would be held open for members of the public visiting downtown during business hours. All of the city’s spaces on the first two floors will be available to the public on evenings and weekends, he said.

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