VA Clinic Site Search Narrows to Three Lakeland-Area Tracts

Three sites are under consideration for a large Lakeland outpatient clinic being planned by the Veterans Administration. All three sites are vacant, and they’re located near highway interchanges:

  • Kathleen Road and I-4
  • Lakeland Highlands Road and the Polk Parkway
  • Braddock Road and the Polk Parkway near Auburndale

The U.S. General Services Administration will coordinate environmental assessments to determine the potential impacts on all three sites being considered for a land lease, a GSA project manager wrote in a letter to city of Lakeland planners.

The VA envisions a clinic of about 127,900 square feet — about five times the size of the current Lakeland clinic on South Pipkin Road — with 650 parking spaces.

“The proposed project would replace the existing (clinic) with a new right-sized, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient health care facility with enlarged and consolidated primary care and certain specialty care services,” Atlanta-based GSA Project Manager Greg King said in his Oct. 29 letter to city officials.

The GSA’s analysis of the alternative sites will include an ecological survey to inspect wetlands and habitat for species of concern, cultural resources survey and environmental assessment for potential of site contamination, King said.

Alternative 1: Kathleen Road

A 20.6-acre wooded site just northwest of the intersection of Interstate 4 and Kathleen Road was described as Alternative 1 in the letter. It abuts the Salvation Army building at 2620 Kathleen Road.

The Cambridge Cove Apartments are located across Kathleen Road, and the Maddox Ranch events venue is to the west. The property is owned by Interchange Group LLC of Lantana.

Alternative 2: Lakeland Highlands

The 25.6-acre cattle pasture is just northeast of the Sams Club on Lakeland Highlands Road. The land is owned by Holloway Park Foundation Inc. and is bordered on the north and west by Holloway Park, popular for its hiking and running trails.

Lakeland’s Planning & Zoning Board today approved land-use changes to accommodate a clinic there. (See the documents here or at the end of this article.)

The zoning application by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, a Massachusetts-based civil engineering and planning company whose Florida offices include Tampa and Orlando, included several elevations of a VA clinic that might go on the property:

Just across the Polk Parkway, Orlando Health is buying an 80-acre tract where it plans to build a free-standing emergency room and medical offices in the near term and a 360-bed hospital in the long term.

Alternative 3: Polk Parkway

The 16.4-acre tract off the Polk Parkway is just south of the Florida Department of Transportation’s SunTrax autonomous vehicle testing site and a bit north of Polk County’s Lake Myrtle Sports Park. Owned by J. Everett Allen Inc., it is currently used as a spray field for treated wastewater, according to the GSA letter.

When LkldNow published a video showing a computer rendering of a proposed VA clinic in May, several readers recognized the location as along this stretch of the Polk Parkway.

Document – Planning & Zoning Review of Lakeland Highlands Site