Oakland Park Culinary Arts

Services Provided:

  • Economic & Market Research/ Analysis
  • CRA Plan Review
  • 5-Year Strategic Action Plan
  • Lease Negotiations
  • Business Attraction/Marketing/Special Events
  • Incentives
  • Planning, Zoning & Code revisions
  • Project Management
  • Website & Social Media Development & Management

Strategic Plan, Downtown Branding, Marketing & Business Attraction Plan, PR/Special Events

The City of Oakland Park had spent over $30 million upgrading the infrastructure in and around the downtown core, however, that alone was not enough to attract private developers to invest in the city as there wasn’t a clearly defined downtown city center, demographics were very low, the city had a very limited budget, and there was no clear vision for the Downtown. RMA initially developed a five-year strategic plan for the City, with a recommendation to focus on the Downtown area first. The RMA team quickly identified that the City of Oakland Park had an existing cluster of culinary related businesses including caterers, upscale kitchen and appliance stores, cabinet makers, culinary kitchens, and the only shared commercial kitchen in Broward County at the time. With these findings, RMA created a brand, the “Downtown Oakland Park Culinary Arts District”, and began implementing the strategic, results-driven plan.

Promoting the culinary concept, RMA attracted the first craft brewery in Broward County, Funky Buddha Brewery, to a large vacant warehouse space located in the downtown area for production and a tasting room. The existing zoning did not allow for brewing, so RMA assisted the city in creating a zoning category to support the new South Florida trend of brewery concepts. A full Local Activity Center (LAC) was then codified to allow for flexible zoning on all properties in the downtown. Using the new-found success of the culinary brand and the first anchor tenant of Funky Buddha Brewery, RMA set out to realign the focus of the entire “downtown” by creating visual elements to tie the area together, including banner signage, street improvements and connection points for pedestrians, and increased special events to bring more visitors.

Throughout the first two years of the Culinary Arts District being established, over 8 properties valued at nearly $15 million had changed hands within the half-mile Downtown Local Activity Center (LAC). The entire area now has seen almost 50% of the buildings undergo renovations or complete redevelopment. The Funky Buddha Brewery, the largest craft brewery in South Florida, selected the emerging Culinary Arts District as their home and opened phase one of their two-phase plan in 18,000 SF of warehouse space at Oakland Station. They later doubled in size with the phase two addition of 19,000 SF for an on-site bottling operation and restaurant concept. Today, they have expanded to almost 180,000 square feet and are a major employer in the district. Another local business, the well-known, successful Allied Kitchen & Bath opened a second location in 20,000 square feet in the heart of the downtown, with ground floor space for three restaurants.