BY MARIE PULEO | POMPANO BEACH REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT REPORTER
NEW RESTAURANT IN POMPANO BEACH: Plans are underway to transform the 1920s building that housed the first bank in Pompano Beach into a restaurant with outdoor dining. The building is located at 61 NE First Street in Old Town, an area the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is developing as an arts and entertainment destination.
Renovations of the old Bank of Pompano building are being completed by the property owner, Ghulam (Joe) Usman of DUC Pompano LLC. Usman got approval from the City Commission, at its Oct. 7 meeting, to lease City-owned property just north of the building to use as an outdoor seating area for the restaurant. The property to be leased is a 2,500-square-foot portion of a passageway called “Artists Alley,” which is known for its colorful murals.
Usman has agreed to spend $38,400 on capital improvements to the leased area, such as replacing existing landscaping and pavers, installing benches, tables, chairs, lighting, irrigation, security cameras, a gazebo or similar structure, fencing and electrical upgrades.
As per the lease, the improvements must be completed within four years, and $19,200 must be expended within two years. The lease is for an initial term of 10 years, with four additional 10-year renewal options.
Usman told the City Commission he doesn’t yet know what type of restaurant will occupy the old bank building, which dates to 1922.
“I want to see how the market does,” said Usman. “I think high density is going to come to the area and it’s going to be great.”
Usman acquired the former bank building in 2008, when it was under threat of being demolished. In 2012, he carried out improvements to preserve the building, which were partly funded with a $40,000 grant from the CRA.
The historic bank building, along with the Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA) building next door (formerly the Bailey Hotel, dating from 1924), were among the first buildings erected in what was Pompano’s growing commercial district or “downtown.”
Other restaurants are being planned for Old Town, including a hip “Southern comfort” restaurant concept, tentatively named Wood & Wire, that will occupy the building at 165 NE First Avenue.
The CRA is in the process of creating a pedestrian and dining plaza, called “The Backyard,” that will serve as an outdoor dining area for these new restaurants.
The plaza, which lies roughly north of the old bank building and BaCA, between NE First Avenue and N. Flagler Avenue, will also be used as a gathering place for the Old Town Untapped craft brew and arts event held on the first Friday of every month.
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