BY MARIE PULEO | POMPANO BEACH NEWS REPORTER
The McNab House and Botanical Gardens project at McNab Park in Pompano Beach has been progressing at a steady pace, with several important milestones reached over the past months.
Waterproofing of the home’s foundation has been completed and the structure has been lowered onto its permanent foundation, which includes a basement for a wine cellar. To make way for the botanical gardens, and allow for the full vision of the project, the former Chamber of Commerce building at the northwest corner of the site was acquired by the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and then demolished.
Currently, repairs are being made to beams and rods of the McNab House, built in 1926, and the basement walls are being waterproofed.
In March 2020, the Pompano Beach CRA, with the support of the Pompano Beach Historical Society, relocated the historic McNab House and detached garage from 1736 E. Atlantic Boulevard to McNab Park, just five blocks east, with the objective of transforming the structures into a new restaurant facility and the surrounding park into a public botanical garden.
A design team from the architectural firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners has been working on developing the concepts for the house and garage, as well as several other buildings that will occupy the site. Illustrations of the concepts were presented to the East CRA Advisory Committee in November.
A master plan conceptual design for the McNab House and Botanical Gardens project was unveiled last May during a virtual community stakeholder meeting held by Bermello Ajamil & Partners. The master plan design was based on feedback from an initial community stakeholder meeting held in December 2020.
Per the master plan, once the house becomes a restaurant, it will have several areas for outdoor dining, all focused on a lake feature that will have a large existing ficus tree at its center. The garage will become a bar, and a kitchen facility will be constructed directly behind the house, which sits at the northeast corner of the site.
The gardens will also include an event pavilion and an event lawn overlooking the lake, a small performance plaza, a garden pavilion situated on an upper terrace lake, and a stream with a foot bridge that connects to the larger lake. At the northwest corner of the site will be a children’s garden with a playground, a classroom facility where children can learn about plants, and adjacent restrooms for visitors to the park. Public art will be incorporated throughout the gardens, which could include both permanent and temporary art installations around the large lake, or even in the lake.
The botanical gardens will be a public park with fencing around the perimeter. During the day, it will be open to the community free of charge. The main entrance will be on SE 22nd Avenue, which runs along the west side of the site. There will also be a north entrance on Atlantic Boulevard.
The next steps in the McNab House and Botanical Gardens project will be to secure a restaurant operator, to finalize the configuration of the botanical gardens, and to address parking accommodations.
“We are thrilled by the progress we have made during these past months,” said Nguyen Tran, Pompano Beach CRA Director. “There were many structural elements that required completion before moving to the next phase.”
The McNab House and Botanical Gardens project was recently named the 2021 winner of the “Out of the Box” category in the annual Florida Redevelopment Association Awards.
“We are honored to have received this prestigious recognition,” said Tran. “The McNab House and Botanical Gardens is an innovative mix of historic preservation and future visioning. The entire team is delighted that our project was selected by this esteemed redevelopment organization that has more than 300 members.”
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