Restaurant activity is heating up in downtown Lakeland, as several food and drink projects are under way and others are still in the early talking stage, according to an update from the Downtown Development Authority. 

“Multiple restaurants have inquired about moving into downtown,” LDDA Director Julie Townsend wrote to her board this week. “I cannot yet identify the locations, but I am working to help those prospects land in a space that makes sense.”

Food and beverage spots dominated a list of downtown project updates Townsend presented to the LDDA board Thursday. Here’s a list of her updates, starting with the food operations:

Turkish Restaurant: The former owners of Bosphorous Turkish Kitchen signed a lease for the long-vacant storefront at 207 E. Main Street next to Black & Brew. An architect and contractor have been selected but no plans have been submitted yet. The restaurant that Mustafa Paca and his family operated on South Kentucky Avenue for two years closed in September 2013.

Lakeland Loft: The jazz and cigar lounge planned for a second-floor space at Main and Tennessee is nearly complete and inspections are scheduled.

Posto 9: A second elevator has been installed at the Brazilian gastropub at 215 E. Main, and its second-story event space is “close to being fully operational.” Also, a rooftop lounge has opened, and the storage pod that blocked the alley behind the restaurant during construction has been removed.

Café Roti: The Indian and Pakistani restaurant is under construction at 116 S. Tennessee Ave. “Work continues daily with no major but is slow. Dr. (Saqib) Khan has meticulous wood-working projects along the arcade of the building.”

Swan Brewing: The LDDA board on Thursday approved the design for the brewpub planned for 115 W. Pine Street overlooking Lake Wire, and owner Dan Thumberg is expected to apply for LDDA grants. A late fall 2017 opening is anticipated.

Mojo/Federal Building: Interior construction is beginning in the circa 1917 Federal Building, which will house an upscale whiskey bar/BBQ restaurant owned by Jacksonville’s Mojo Q. Work is expected to take 120 days.

Uncle Nick’s Bagels: Buildout for the bagel deli and general store has begun in the NoBay development at the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Bay Street. There are no challenges at this point.

Bryant Building: A second-floor balcony is being added to the 1905-era Bryant Block building at Main and Kentucky, with a door out from the second-fl0or office of Insuretech Inc. The black-steel balcony isn’t part of the first-floor Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille, but some say it will add to the restaurant’s New Orleans ambiance.

Campbell Building: Construction is complete at the three-story Campbell Building at 230 N. Kentucky Ave., which houses the Stationery Loft on the ground floor. The Campbell family has moved into the third floor as their primary residence.

Escapology: The game space at 210 E. Pine St. is close to completion, and the owners expect to open later this month.

MidFlorida Tower: Renovations are ongoing on several floors of the credit union’s headquarters in the 1925 Marble Arcade Building at 129 S. Kentucky Ave. Work continues daily with no major issues.

USAmericaBank: Structural work continues on the red-brick former Purity Ice Co. at 427 S. Florida Ave.

Catapult 2.0: An early May groundbreaking has been set for the project to convert the vacant Lakeland Cash Feed Building on Lake Mirror into the Catapult 2.0 small business incubator.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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