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By Marie Puleo
Since 2010, the City of Pompano Beach and its Community Redevelopment Agency have been working to revitalize the beachfront that stretches from Atlantic Boulevard to just north of the Pompano Pier, an area which, over the years, had become blighted and derelict. The goal was to create pedestrian-friendly areas for residents and visitors to dine, shop and enjoy the beach. After carrying out extensive improvement projects, the city is now beginning to see its ambitious plans to transform the beachside fall into place, and more and more businesses are being attracted to the area.
At the heart of this transformation is the Pompano Beach Fishing Village, a private sector development project currently underway on a 6-acre site next to the Pompano pier. It will include two new restaurants directly on the beach. The Pompano Beach House is anticipated to open by March, and the groundbreaking of Oceanic is expected to take place this month. They will be located on the spot once occupied by Fisherman’s Wharf, which was the area’s only oceanfront restaurant, but was damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and never reopened.
“These restaurants are destined to become South Florida landmarks,” said Tim Hernandez, a principal in Pompano Pier Associates, a Delray Beach-based firm that was selected by the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency to lease and develop the commercial space in the Fishing Village.
The Fishing Village will also be home to other retailers, such as a chocolate shop, a gourmet burger restaurant and a beach goods store, all of which will be breaking ground soon. The big news came when a developer recently committed to opening a Hilton hotel on the site of what is now a large municipal parking lot. Expected to be completed in 2020, it will be the first hotel to be built in the area since 1965.
Before all this could happen, the city had to lay the groundwork, based on a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the beach area that was created in 2008. In 2013, the city completed streetscape improvements to the section of Pompano Beach Boulevard that lies between Atlantic Boulevard and NE 5th Street, north of the pier. The boulevard was narrowed, the sidewalks were broadened, the landscaping was enhanced and the dune system along the beachfront was restored and made more resilient to the environment. The beach pavilions and the children’s play area next to the pier were refurbished, and “The Great Lawn” – an artificial turf gathering area with an interactive splash pad – was built at the boulevard’s south end. On-street parking was also added.
The portion of Atlantic Boulevard between Federal Highway and the beach was also improved. It went from six lanes to four lanes so that two lanes would align directly with the bridge, which only has two lanes in each direction. The lane reduction also moved on-street parking off Atlantic Boulevard and into the side streets so it wouldn’t interfere with traffic. The sidewalks were widened and nicer medians were built with more elaborate landscaping. As part of the upgrades on Atlantic Boulevard and Pompano Beach Boulevard, utility wires were placed underground and more attractive streetlights with better light coverage for pedestrians and vehicles were installed.
In order to accommodate the redevelopment of the beachside, Fire Station 11 and the beach branch of the city’s library, which were on the site of the future Fishing Village, had to be relocated to a parcel on the Oceanside Parking Lot between A1A and North Riverside Drive.
The city also built the $21.5 million Pier Parking Garage, which is part of the Fishing Village, and is being called ‘iconic’ because of its attention-grabbing design. Completed in June 2016, the 663-space garage was the “crown jewel” in terms of setting the stage and attracting developer interest, said Horacio Danovich, the city’s capital improvement program manager.
The parking garage project also included the creation of two new pedestrian-friendly, intersecting streets – Pier Street and Seabreeze Way – that run through the Fishing Village. Pier Street will be used to link the Pompano pier to the Intracoastal Waterway and the city’s new water taxi service that was launched last month. To facilitate safe pedestrian crossing of A1A, the intersection of A1A and Pier Street is being redesigned, and will include relocating an existing traffic signal at the corner of NE 2nd Street, just south of the intersection. The city plans to have the project completed by the end of 2019.
The reconstruction of the Pompano pier, which began last May, will be the last major component of the city’s beachfront redevelopment effort. The city has invested close to $70 million in the improvements, including all the planning, studies and design.
Tim Hernandez of Pompano Pier Associates estimates the new Fishing Village development will bring $40 million in private investment to the city. In addition, it is expected to stimulate significant further redevelopment on privately owned land in the immediate area, he said.
So far, there are about a handful of spaces still available for lease in the Fishing Village: a 6,100-square-foot space with ocean views that will probably be a restaurant; a 1,300-square-foot space that might be filled with a health-food restaurant; and on the ground floor of the parking garage, four spaces for restaurant and retail use directly across the street from the future Hilton hotel.
Another city project that will complement what is happening on the beachside is the enhancement of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge that got underway last month. In addition, a private developer is building a new waterfront dining and retail complex on South Riverside Drive, at the southeast corner of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge.
With the city’s vision for a reinvented beach area becoming a reality, Pompano is set to become a destination that’s on everyone’s radar.
Anticipated opening date: End 2018.
This beach goods megastore offers all the necessities for a day at the beach. Housed in a two-story corner building that includes a rotunda-like section with floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, the store will sell everything from bathing suits, beach towels, suntan products and beach chairs, to T-shirts, beach sandals, resort wear and souvenirs. It will carry major brands in surfing performance gear and fashion wear, such as Quicksilver, Reef, Lost and Vans, and will stock top fishing brands like Huk, Avid and Guy Harvey. Alvin’s Island also has its own fashion line for the beach and pool, featuring cover-ups, dresses, and women’s mix-and-match swimwear.
The upper floor of the store will be dedicated to water sports equipment, including surfboards, kiteboards, boogie boards, bodyboards and stand-up paddleboards. The store plans to have a kiosk on the beach with various boards for rent, and may offer lessons. Alvin’s Island in the Pompano Beach Fishing Village is part of a Miami Beach-based chain that operates 36 “tropical department stores” in beach towns throughout the southeastern United States.
Anticipated opening date: End 2018.
When Don and Katy Kilwin opened their flagship store in 1947 in northern Michigan, they earned a reputation for purveying high-quality chocolate, fudge and ice cream made on site from their own recipes. Today, the company’s heritage continues in over 120 stores nationwide. The Pompano Beach Fishing Village location, owned and operated by South African-born Sean and Jody Kotzen of Pompano Beach, will offer all the traditional Kilwins confections, freshly made right in the store, in a nostalgic Americana setting.
The selection of treats includes: assorted chocolates, creamy Mackinac Island Fudge paddled and loafed on marble tables; Granny Smith apples hand-dipped in caramel that’s cooked in traditional copper kettles, hand-crafted nut brittles; pretzels dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate; and the signature Nutcracker Sweets, which combines freshly-popped corn, almonds, pecans and caramel. The store will also serve over 40 flavors of Kilwins Original Recipe ice cream, which is made in the flagship kitchen using only fresh antibiotic-free, rbST-free milk and cream from family farms. The ice cream will be served in homemade waffle cones with a choice of chocolate and caramel toppings. It will also be used to make milkshakes, sodas and floats. The store will carry Kilwins’ handcrafted ice-cream cakes available in six varieties, as well as a number of sugar-free and no-sugar-added confections.
Pompano Beach House
Anticipated opening date: End January/beginning February 2018.
Located right on the beach, north of the Pompano Beach fishing pier, the Beach House is set to deliver casual dining in a fun atmosphere. The two-story structure, done in tropical Old Florida style, will have an open-air concept offering sweeping views of the ocean, pier and Hillsboro Lighthouse. The first floor, which includes a bar area, will have “garage door” floor-to-ceiling glass windows that, when opened, disappear into the ceiling and create the feeling of sitting on the beach. The second floor will be a rooftop bar with a lounge feel and tiered seating to maximize the ocean views. At night, to add to the ambiance, which is inspired by surf culture, vintage and recent surf movies will be projected, without the sound, on the back wall of a live entertainment space.
The downstairs, which has 225 seats, will feature burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken and fish cooked on a live oak wood-burning grill. Everything from the salad dressings to the soups and desserts, will be made in-house from scratch. The upstairs bar, which has 125 seats, will offer lighter fare, such as flatbreads, sushi and a raw bar. On Sundays, there will be a brunch menu and bottomless mimosas downstairs, while the upstairs will have stations for build-your-own mimosas and omelets, plus a DJ or live music. There are plans to start Saturday morning yoga sessions on the upstairs deck and surf lessons on the beach about a month after the restaurant’s grand opening.
The Beach House is owned and operated by Brimstone Restaurant Group, which also owns Grille 401 Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, the Piñon Grill in Boca Raton and Brimstone Woodfire Grill in Doral and Pembroke Pines.
Pompano Beach Water Taxi
Began operating in December 2017.
The long-awaited hop-on and hop-off water taxi service along the Intracoastal Waterway was launched last month. The water taxi service will run as far north as Lighthouse Point and as far south as Fort Lauderdale. It makes about 11 stops, providing connectivity to hotels, restaurants, and the future Fishing Village near the Pompano Beach pier. At the southernmost stop on the itinerary, Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale, passengers can connect to the Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale, which goes all the way to Hollywood. Tickets to ride the Pompano Beach Water Taxi cost $20 per person, with a discounted price of $15 for Pompano Beach residents. Tickets are valid all day, and can be purchased online (pompanobeachwatertaxi.com), onboard, at the Pompano Beach Water Taxi’s office inside the Sands Harbor Resort, and at participating restaurants. The service runs seven days a week, beginning at 10am, and the last pick-up from the itinerary’s north and south endpoints is at 10pm. The water taxi and the stations are handicap accessible.
Anticipated opening date: Fourth quarter 2018.
Since opening its first location in 2011 in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, BurgerFi is one of the nation’s fastest-growing gourmet burger chains, and now has over 100 restaurants. Based in North Palm Beach, Burger Fi is known for using patties made of 100 percent certified Angus beef that comes from free-range, grass-fed cattle that are never treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. The menu offers a variety of burger toppings to choose from, as well as Vienna hot dogs, hand-cut fries, double-battered onion rings, local craft beers, wine and frozen custards.
The BurgerFi at the Pompano Beach Fishing Village will have a large open-air covered porch overlooking Pier Street and Pompano Beach Boulevard. Like all BurgerFi restaurants, it will have a sleek, modern design that reflects the company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices. Some of the sustainable elements include: eye-catching, 10-foot wide ceiling fans that consume less energy; walls paneled with Number 2 pine lumber, one of the most renewable timber sources available; red chairs made from upcycled plastic Coca-Cola bottles; large picnic tables and four-top tables made from upcycled milk jugs; and energy efficient LED lighting. In addition, the peanut oil used in the kitchen will be recycled into biodiesel fuel. The new BurgerFi will be owned by Foiled By The Burger LLC, which also owns the BurgerFi in Lighthouse Point.
Beach Bar and Grill Concept
Anticipated opening date: Early 2019.
A new outdoor beach bar with full-service, casual come-as-you-are dining will be located just south of the Pompano Beach pier. The beach bar owners will take over and renovate the building that currently houses the pier concession, and will use it as their kitchen. The existing deck will be replaced with a much larger one, and the surrounding area will be completely replanted with lush, tropical landscaping. On the new deck, there will be seating around a circular pavilion-style bar, plus tables shaded by canvas triangle-shaped sun sails, accommodating a total of 150-200 guests. To set the vibe, there will also be a bandstand for live entertainment, such as acoustic music or steel drums, every evening of the week.
The bar will serve tropical cocktails, but with a modern twist. There will also be local and craft draft beer. The food menu will feature handheld items, such as sandwiches, creative tacos, hamburgers and oysters, plus fresh fish and salads.
Currently in the design phase, the name of the new beach bar hasn’t been released yet. It is owned by Raleigh, North Carolina-based LM Restaurants, the same firm that is opening the Oceanic on the north side of the pier. The owner of the pier concession will be opening an upscale sub shop on the ground floor of the Pier Parking Garage.
Atlantic Boulevard Bridge Enhancements
Anticipated completion date: End 2018.
The Atlantic Boulevard Bridge is considered an important element in the redevelopment area, and is undergoing upgrades to make it a more attractive feature and a symbolic ‘welcome’ for visitors to the beachfront. The project, which was launched in December, will include improvements to the bridge’s north and south façades, tender house and system lighting. The concrete side barriers will be replaced with more open railings that offer pedestrians and vehicles better views of the Intracoastal. Colorful design elements will also be added, such as large tensioned sails at each end of the bridge (four total), computerized up-lighting, a marine-themed mural and land-based lighting.
The plans also include a pedestrian waterfront promenade under the east side of the bridge that will connect restaurants, shops and other amenities from the south to the north. A sidewalk known as the “Trailway to the Waterway” will also be constructed. The sloped sidewalk will lead down from Atlantic Boulevard to the promenade along the Intracoastal.
The cost to complete all of the enhancements is $5 million, which will be funded by the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. The project will be carried out by Currie Sowards Aguila Architects, the Delray Beach firm that designed the Pompano Beach Pier Parking Garage. The sails on the bridge will echo the canvas sails on the exterior of the parking garage. It is hoped that if the artwork on the bridge is well-received, it can be carried over to the 14th Street Causeway Bridge and the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge.
Work on the bridge that requires a partial lane closure will be done in the off season, and only during off-peak hours. Daily boat traffic will not be affected.
Anticipated groundbreaking: End 2018. Anticipated opening date: 2020.
The Pompano Beach Fishing Village will be home to a dual-branded Hilton hotel. The five-story hotel will be built on what is currently a city-owned parking lot, just south of the new Pier Parking Garage. One section of the L-shaped building will be a Hilton Home2Suites, offering 90 rooms that have kitchens and work areas, and are well-suited for families on extended stays; the other section will be a Tru by Hilton, offering 60 smaller, streamlined rooms geared toward travelers with a “millennial mindset.” The Tru focus is on the large colorful lobby designed to be a social hub, with zones for eating, playing, working and lounging, and lots of charging stations for tech devices. Designated pet-friendly rooms will be offered by Home2Suites.
The large overhang of the hotel’s entrance will serve as a deck with a rectangular saline swimming pool, a hot tub and cabanas. The pool will be maintained with natural minerals instead of chemicals, which is in keeping with the Home2 Suites commitment to sustainability. The hotel will also have a rooftop deck with 360-degree views of the ocean, the pier, the Hillsboro Lighthouse and the Intracoastal Waterway. There are plans to have a bar on the rooftop deck. The Hilton will be the first new hotel in the area since the opening of the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina in 1965. It is being developed by father-and-son team Aashish and Girish Patel of the Fort Myers-based Madhav Group.
Anticipated groundbreaking: January 2018. Anticipated opening date: Early 2019.
Thanks to its striking architectural design, this waterfront restaurant looks like an ocean liner that has pulled up alongside the north side of the Pompano Beach pier. Oceanic’s contemporary, open interior, which includes windows spanning from floor to ceiling, will offer expansive and uninterrupted ocean views. The menu will focus on fresh seafood and steaks prepared on a wood-fire grill.
The second floor, which will have its own kitchen and a covered deck overlooking the ocean, will be used as a private space for special events, such as birthday parties, wedding receptions and corporate or charity events. Accommodating 300-400 people, it can be used as one large space for a single event or be divided into three separate spaces for simultaneous events. There will be seating for 400 people on the first floor, which includes a covered ocean-facing deck for al fresco dining.
Oceanic is owned by Raleigh, North Carolina-based LM Restaurants, whose founders, Lou and Joy Moshakos, began their restaurant careers in Deerfield Beach 40 years ago.
Pier Parking Garage
Garage opened: June 2016.
Tourism Visitor Center to open: 2018
After the completion of Pompano Beach’s $12 million streetscape improvement project along one mile of downtrodden beachfront in 2013, thousands of visitors frequented the revitalized area, and parking revenues increased dramatically. To address the additional parking needs, as well as the future parking demand from the Fishing Village development, the city decided to construct its first public parking garage, just west of the pier. The $21.5 million landmark project, which created 663 parking spaces, is being funded by revenue collected from all of the city’s metered parking facilities. The new parking garage was a critical step in setting the stage for the redevelopment of the beachside.
The building’s bold design was created by Currie Sowards Aguila Architects, a Delray Beach-based firm known for transforming utilitarian facilities into iconic structures. The exterior of the five-story garage is adorned with large LED-lit canvas sails and a giant aquatic mural. It also has a landscaped rooftop deck and a glass elevator overlooking the ocean. On the ground floor of the garage, directly across the street from the future Hilton hotel, there are spaces available to lease for restaurant and retail use.
The city’s first Tourism Visitor Center, which will open to the public in 2018, will also be on the ground floor of the parking garage.
Anticipated opening date: Late 2018 or early 2019.
A new upscale dining and retail complex, called Harbor Promenade, is currently being built on the southeastern corner of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge. The first phase of the project is a restaurant called Harbor NYC, located at 101 S. Riverside Drive, along the Intracoastal Waterway. It will have 150 indoor seats, as well as 350 outdoor seats, and feature live entertainment.
The retail shops will be located on Atlantic Boulevard between South Riverside Drive and Hibiscus Avenue. Once the retail area is completed, there are plans to build a seafood restaurant on the waterfront parcel just south of Harbor NYC. There will be room for at least 10 boats to dock alongside the two restaurants.
The project is being developed on what was 2.2 acres of vacant grassy property. The Canada-based company behind the project, Group Tsatas, also owns Madisons New York Bar & Grill in Boca Raton, which opened in 2013.
Measures are being taken to facilitate safe access to Harbor Promenade by cars coming east over the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge. The portion of South Riverside Drive that runs along the project site will go from a two-lane to a one-lane traffic pattern, so drivers will have the whole width of the road to negotiate the sharp right turn immediately after the bridge.
Pompano Beach Pier
Anticipated completion date: Early 2019.
Since May 2017, the Pompano Beach fishing pier, built in 1963, has been undergoing reconstruction. The spans are being demolished and replaced a section at a time, working from the west to the east. The new $11.5 million pier will be 896 feet long (virtually the same length as before), but it will be four feet higher than the old one to withstand sea level rise and storm surges. The new pier will also be close to 50 percent wider than the old one to reduce the risk of people getting hooked by a cast fishing line as they stroll along the pier.
The completed pier will have shade structures, benches, marine-related artwork, Wi-Fi, an underwater camera for watching fish, and security cameras. The end of the new pier will be shaped like the head of a stylized pompano, the fish after which the city was named. The end of the old pier had been closed to the public since 2012, after sustaining damage from Hurricane Sandy. The new pier will complement the other developments in Pompano’s beachfront area, and is expected to draw customers to nearby businesses.
Anticipated opening date: Early 2019.
This gourmet sub shop will occupy a space on the ground floor of the Pier Parking Garage, directly across from the new Hilton hotel. The subs will be made with Boar’s Head-only meats, cheeses and condiments, on bread baked fresh on the premises. Todd Weiss, the owner of Surfside Subs, has been working with Boar’s Head for the past two years to develop a menu that will include items not found on typical subs, such as London Broil roast beef and Havarti cheese. Guests will be able to order subs from a set menu or have them custom-made, with either traditional or innovative meats and cheeses. They’ll also be able to get boxed lunches to take to the beach, like the Beachfront Combo, which includes a sub, cookie, drink and chips.
A modern, high-end beach décor is planned for the sub shop, which will have 12 indoor seats and 12 outdoor seats. Beverages will include all-natural frozen drinks – strawberry, piña colada, mango or lemonade – and Dr. Brown sodas. A lobster roll will also be featured on the menu. Gluten-free bread will be available, to go along with the Boar’s Head meat, which is gluten-free.
Weiss plans to do catering for corporate meetings and events at local hotels and businesses. The concession that Weiss currently owns and operates on the south side of the Pompano Beach pier will become part of an outdoor beach bar developed by the owners of the new Oceanic restaurant.