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Farewell Festival Flea Market

Vendors Have “At Least One Year” Before They Have To Move Out

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The Festival Flea Market, located at 2900 W. Sample Road in Pompano Beach, is on its way to being demolished and replaced by an industrial warehouse.

Atlanta-based IDI Logistics is purchasing the Festival Flea Market site from owner Yoram Izhak, of North Miami-based investment firm IMC Equity Group, and will be developing the warehouse.

The flea market’s approximately 200 vendors will have at least one year before they have to vacate the premises, Dennis Mele, the attorney representing IDI Logistics, told the City Commission in June.

The City Commission approved a request from the developer to change the land use designation of the 27.3-gross-acre flea market property from commercial to industrial, and to rezone the property from business to industrial.

The area surrounding the Festival Flea Market site is developed with commercial and industrial uses, and not residential. Across Sample Road is the Waste Management landfill, and to the west is Florida’s Turnpike.

Per the site plan, the industrial warehouse facility will consist of one 412,347-square-foot building and one 58,962-square-foot building.

According to information presented by Mele, the warehouse facility will have approximately 200 employees, and will generate $907,812 in property tax revenue for the city, versus $84,141 currently generated by the Festival Flea Market.

The rezoning application submitted to the City by IDI Logistics states that the trend towards online shopping, which was magnified due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has reduced the need for brick-and-mortar stores and increased the demand for industrial warehouse space.

The Festival Flea Market property is an ideal location for the industrial warehouse because it is on a major east-west thoroughfare that provides access to Florida’s Turnpike, I-95 and the Sawgrass Expressway, according to the rezoning application.

“This access will increase the efficiency and speed of delivery of goods to customers and also provides efficiency in delivery of goods to businesses located in the proposed industrial warehouse space,” said the application.

The industrial warehouse to be built on the Festival Flea Market site is IDI Logistics’ fourth project in Pompano Beach. The others are Rock Lake Business Center, Pompano II Business Center, and Pompano M Business Center – all located south of the Festival Flea Market, off Blount Road.

Mele said IDI Logistics doesn’t yet know who the tenant, or tenants, of the new warehouse will be, but they will be working to get tenants similar to the ones in their three other locations, which are “typical warehouse distribution-type tenants.” He said the developer will work with the community to try to get local businesses that will hire local people.

A number of Festival Flea Market vendors, some who have been there for over 20 years, have voiced concern about losing their businesses, and about the approximately 1000 employees who will lose their jobs.

City Manager Greg Harrison told the Commission that the City is “very sensitive about the situation” and had begun looking into ways to try to assist the vendors.

The City has reached out to Sterling Organization, the owners of Pompano Citi Centre shopping mall, regarding possible relocation options for the vendors that will be displaced.

Harrison said City staff was checking to see whether some of the federal funds received as a result of COVID-19 and the economic downturn could be used to help the vendors with costs for relocation, improvements to a new location, or first and last months’ rent deposits.

One Festival Flea Market vendor who attended the commission meeting said the Festival Flea Market is a destination, even though there are individual businesses.

“You can’t take individual businesses and try to make them work by opening up another store somewhere else,” said the vendor. “We need some kind of answers with regards to keeping us as a destination. That’s basically the important part.”

Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin said that he had received e-mails and understands the concerns of the business owners, and thanked the city manager and staff for looking into options for them, “but it comes down to a private property owner, and people can make changes to their properties.”

“I wish everyone success in their endeavors,” said Hardin. “And yes, things do change.”

Built in 1986, the approximately 382,000-square-foot indoor flea market (also called the Festival Marketplace in recent years) was acquired by IMC Equity Group in 2018 for $25 million. IMC Equity Group submitted a site plan application to the City in 2019 for redevelopment of a surplus parking area at the northeast corner of the Festival Flea Market site.

The plans included adding a new one-story 25,500-square-foot building for restaurant and retail use, a RaceTrac gas station and convenience store, and a 1-acre pad area suitable for a drive-through business.

The northeast corner of the site is not being sold to IDI Logistics, and the proposed RaceTrac gas station and convenience store, which received site plan approval in 2019, will still be developed, as well as a Take 5 drive-through oil change business (pending site plan approval), according to Mele.

In 2019, IMC Equity Group also had separate plans to add a 10,000-square-foot entertainment space for kids inside the existing flea market building that would have included interactive video games and a room for holding parties.

There were also plans to convert a 10-acre parking area located south of the existing flea market building into multi-tenant warehouses.

At the time, Carlos Segrera, chief investment officer of IMC Equity Group, said the objective was to “enhance the excess land that we have,” and maximize the economic viability of the property.

A site plan for the industrial warehouse facility that is being developed on the property by IDI Logistics will be going through the City’s review process.

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Marie Puleo
Author: Marie Puleo

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