Emerging Neighborhoods: Is Pompano Beach home to Broward’s next hipster haven?

By Emon Reiser, News Source @bizjournals

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles running in November on South Florida neighborhoods outside of the region’s well-known hot spots. They are places that have recently seen an uptick in residents as well as retail and residential developers. These are South Florida’s emerging neighborhoods.

Pompano Beach is on the brink of a transformation decades in the making.

It’s a new day for the sleepy beach town as an Innovation District springs up beside its retirement communities, bringing trendy startups, hip restaurants and breweries along with it.

“The Pompano Beach Innovation District is one of the most exciting development opportunities in South Florida,” said Emily Marcus, a project manager with the Pompano Beach CRA. “The Innovation District already has anchors and assets including three major cultural facilities, a culinary and tech industry presence, proximity to the Pompano Beach Airport, and contiguous access to over 30 million square feet of industrial space.”

The neighborhood has been overlooked for years by developers. Now, it has community redevelopment agency-initiated plans sprouting on two sides of the city that would bring new residents, businesses and tourists to the area. Developers are taking notice, following up with their own project proposals in the city.

“We did our first vision study with [Florida Atlantic University] in ’98 or ’99 about that east side of I-95 that has now gone through all of the zoning changes for the Innovation District,” said David Hasenauer of The Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). “We’re finally at that point.”

The city’s Innovation District is within a 38-acre area that includes 15 acres owned by the CRA. Its zoning would allow 750,000 square feet of office space, 165,000 square feet of retail, 35,000 square feet of restaurants, 1,500 residential units, and two hotels with a combined 420 rooms.

The CRA recently called for artists across the country to apply for residency.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for artists to live in an urban, dynamic new downtown community,” said Jody Leshinsky, cultural executive director of the CRA. “The Artist in Residence program will facilitate the success of City Vista, while also promoting Pompano Beach’s cultural arts scene, attracting and retaining talented individuals in the developing downtown, and providing a steady stream of volunteers to participate in the city’s growing cultural arts brand.”

Many of those artists could make their mark on the murals popping up around town, or the art trail that will run along Martin Luther King Boulevard.

As the CRA bolsters the city’s cultural offerings, it aims to increase its resources for local entrepreneurs.

Part of the commercial square footage at City Vista will be used as co-working space. At the E. Pat Larkins Center, the CRA designated a commercial kitchen to serve as a culinary incubator. It also set up the Pompano Beach Green Market on Saturdays in partnership with the Pompano Beach Historical Society. That’s in addition to Old Town Untapped, a craft brew and arts festival that is bringing thousands of vendors and attendees to Bailey Hall at Broward College. Odd Breed Wild Ales is a new brewery slated to open before year end nearby the monthly gathering.

“We’re really pushing for that environment to foster the entrepreneurial spirit,” Hasenauer said.

When complete, the Pompano Beach Fishing Village (the name of the $15 million development at the pier) would have two restaurants, shops and a Hilton hotel among its tenants. Its 615-car garage has already been completed.

The CRA will next seek out a Master Developer for the entire district.

Outside of the CRA’s plans, the city has seen a wave of proposed projects. Here is a sampling:

  • A 360,989-square-foot mixed-use project has been proposed along the ocean in Pompano Beach by heavyweight New York developer Chetrit Group and Hollywood partner Ari Pearl. It would have a 24-story tower with 77 condos and a 22-story hotel tower with 303 rooms.
  • The Broadstone Oceanside apartment complex by CRP/AR Oceanside Owner, a joint venture between Alliance Residential and Dev Motwani’s Merrimac, broke ground along the Intracoastal Waterway in Pompano Beach in August.The 3.7-acre site at 1333 S. Ocean Blvd. will have an 8-story building with 211 apartments, 2,776 square feet of retail/leasing office and 432 parking spaces.
  • Avery Place by Meyers Group broke ground at the southeast corner of Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 20th Avenue. The parcel has been approved for an 8-story, 147-unit apartment complex.