The Lakeland Downtown Development Authority and the City of Lakeland have partnered to bring the Universal Valet parking program to Downtown Lakeland, and services will begin on Friday, Dec. 9 at a cost of $6 per car. 

Fresco’s, POSTO 9 Brazilian Gastropub and Lakeland Loft Cigar and Spirits will offer a full validation of their customers’ valet cost. Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro will offer 50 percent off valet parking with a purchase of $10 or more. Chop Shop will offer a $2 discount. Other restaurants are expected to join the program as it gets underway. Anyone visiting Downtown may use the service regardless of their destination.

These discounts will be available to patrons of the above-listed establishments on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. POSTO 9 will offer validation and use the valet service seven days a week. 

The valet stand locations are the corner of East Main Street and South Kentucky Avenue in front of Nathan’s Men’s Store and the corner of South Kentucky Avenue and East Lemon Street across from Fresco’s. Valeted cars will be parked in the city-owned parking lots located at Massachusetts Avenue at East Orange and South Florida Avenue at the railroad tracks. Valet services are contracted with 717 Parking Services by the LDDA.

“I am confident that this service will be a significant value added experience to Downtown commerce. More importantly, this service will provide our citizens and visitors with more parking choices,” says Angelo Rao, City of Lakeland’s Manager of Traffic Operations and Parking Services.

Though finding convenient parking in the evening is not much of a challenge today, Downtown is expecting as many as four new establishments around Munn Park in the next year.  POSTO 9 Brazilian Gastropub and Lakeland Loft Cigars and Spirits have grand openings in this month. Two additional full service restaurants are expected to open on Tennessee Avenue in the next four to 12 months  – Café Roti and MOJO’s Barbeque. These four establishments have close to 1,000 seats collectively and are all located within the same two-block urban area where no additional parking is provided. These new establishments’ customers will compete for the same convenient spaces. Customers will find it more challenging to find on-street spots near their destination as Downtown continues to grow.

“What makes Downtown so attractive is the dense population of dining, entertainment and shopping options in its urban setting,” says Julie Townsend, Executive Director of the LDDA.  “We want even more density which will continue to push the majority of parking to the perimeter. Not everyone is willing to walk more than a block, so we have to be sure to offer a variety of parking options that provide customers confidence in an opportunity to park while not destroying the urban appeal. Valet provides a convenient parking option for those willing to pay for it. It will not replace self-parking; it will be an alternative for those who choose it.