Emerging Neighborhoods: Is Pompano Beach home to Broward’s next hipster haven?Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
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
“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.
Although plans for the District were 20 years in the making, construction
officially kicked off last year with the groundbreaking of the City Vista project.
It includes 111 apartments and 3,800 square foot of ground-floor commercial
space at the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Northwest
6th Avenue, within walking distance of the Ali Cultural Arts Center, Bailey
Contemporary Arts and the the Pompano Beach Cultural Center and Library.
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
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.
Closer to the beach, the Pompano Beach Pier Development encompasses six
acres within the CRA’s East District and is a major part of Pompano Beach’s
transformation as a potential hot spot for millennials. The groundbreaking
ceremony for the first parcel was Jan. 27 this year and construction for the
development will continue through 2020.
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.