As Broward County’s second oldest city, Pompano Beach has seen quite a bit of evolution. And now it is experiencing somewhat of a rebirth amid new development.
Pioneer Henry Flagler cemented Pompano Beach’s role as an important port city in the 1820s when he extended his Florida East Coast Railway from Miami to West Palm Beach, making Pompano one of its major stops along the state’s southeastern coast.
The railway brought in new settlers who established farming communities throughout Pompano. By the 1960s, the tourism and boating industries joined agriculture as the city’s main economic drivers. Motels soon replaced small cottages and vacant land on the beach, while boating related companies provided locals with jobs, according to the Pompano Beach Historical Society.
Following the construction of the Pompano Fashion Square Mall in the 1970s, the city went through a decline over the next two decades.
Today, Pompano is starting to feel the early stages of a new boom that is attracting luxury condo developers to redevelop the beachfront, while providing buyers with an affordable alternative to its southern coastal neighbors like Fort Lauderdale and Sunny Isles Beach.
Danny Salvatore, a partner with Fernbrook Florida, which is developing the boutique condo tower Sabbia Beach at 730 Ocean Boulevard, told The Real Deal his project is the first new construction to break ground in Pompano in almost a decade.
Salvatore said Fernbrook purchased the 163,000-square-foot beachfront lot where Sabbia Beach is being built in 2010 for $10.5 million. “Since then, land prices have gone up a good 75 percent,” Salvatore said. “Still, Pompano remains affordable for buyers. They can buy a luxury unit for a third of the price than in Miami. That is the No. 1 selling point, aside from the beach.”
Signs of Change
In 2011, Pompano Beach was still feeling the sting of the economic recession when a Kmart on the corner of Copans Road and North Federal Highway shuttered its doors. Three years later, a Whole Foods Market opened at the same location as the natural and organic grocer ushered a new era of growth for Pompano.
The 40,000-square-foot store features La Rachetta Wine & Beer Bar, a 28-seat bar serving pizza, pasta, signature meatballs in addition to light alcoholic beverages. The supermarket, which features a vintage, nautical theme, opened a year after the company renewed a lease for its Pompano Beach distribution facility. Under the new deal, Whole Foods expanded its occupancy from 71,154 square feet to 123,062 square feet at the Pompano Business Center at 2700 Northwest 19th Street.
Other hip neighborhood options are also popping up in Pompano Beach like The Foundry bar and lounge just a few blocks north of Whole Foods at 2781 East Atlantic Boulevard. Later this year, Canadian restaurant chain Madison’s New York Bar & Grill will open its second South Florida location on a site along the Intracoastal Waterway and Altantic Boulevard.
Realtors and developers in the area also tell TRD that the city’s $7 million reconstruction of the pier on Pompano Beach Boulevard, which began in January, will also enhance the area’s dining and shopping experience. As part of the project, the city is also building a new 609-space parking garage and a “fishing village” of restaurants and retail shops.
“Downtown Pompano is becoming the same as downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown Boca Raton,” Salvatore said. “It going to have a fair amount of restaurants and shops within a walking distance.”
In another testament to Pompano Beach’s growing appeal, the Claremont Companies purchased a Marriott-branded hotel near the water for $25 million last year, mostly financed with a $21.5 million loan from U.S. National Bank.
Pompano Beach does not offer many public transit options other than bus routes provided by Broward County and a Tri-Rail station at 3301 Northwest 8th Avenue. However, the city has several main arteries that connect commuters to Interstate 95, Federal Highway and A1A.
Most expensive residential sale
Unit 1901 at 1600 South Ocean Boulevard, 3,029 square feet with three bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms sold for $1.95 million in October.
Residential broker’s take
“Pompano Beach is the hidden jewel of South Florida. From our perspective, this is the last real value to have a home on the ocean and your toes in the sand,” Amy Ballon, Hemisphere Sales Group.
“You will see a lot of redevelopment along several corridors that will attract infill projects with more retail. The city is also embracing it. The new pier is a really nice project that will have some restaurants on the water and provide connectivity from the beach to the bay,” Douglas K. Mandel, of the Marcus & Millichap’s Fort Lauderdale office.
Demographic changes from 2000 to 2015
Population: 106,105 up 6.2% in 2010 and up 5% in 2000
Median age: 43
Median income: $64,994
Average household net worth: $380,780
Median sales price per square foot: $158, 10% lower compared to the rest of Broward County
Increase in average rent over the last year: 10% for a one-bedroom to $1,383; 9% for a two-bedroom to $1,776
Most expensive home on the market
Single-family: 8,770-square-foot home with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms at 1802 Bay Drive for $8.9 million.
Condo: Unit 901 at 200 Hibiscus Avenue, 3,815 square feet with four bedrooms and two-and-half bathrooms for $1.5 million
Least expensive home on the market
Lyons Park, 1,207-square-foot unit with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms for $235,000.
The last 13 months has seen a slew of developers launch luxury boutique projects along or near Pompano Beach’s waterfront. In January of last year, Cavache Properties began construction of a 21-townhouse community called 14th and Ocean. At the time, developer Adam Adache told TRD that more than 50 percent of the resort-style homes had been sold. The project is located near the redesigned Greg Norman Golf Course.
Two months later, Orlando-based multifamily developer Zom broke ground on a 404-unit luxury apartment community called the Residences at Palm Aire. The units include a kitchen island, granite countertops, contemporary cabinets, walk-in closets and private patios. The community area features a fitness center, e-lounge and a resort-style pool.
In October of last year, MCR Development secured a $12.66 million construction loan from U.S. Bank to build another Marriott-branded hotel in Pompano Beach. According to mortgage documents, MCR is building a 112-room Residence Inn by Marriott. The previous owners paid $2.9 million in 2008 for the vacant land where the hotel will rise.
Another oceanfront site at 730 North Ocean Pompano traded for $10.5 million, 144 percent more than it sold for in 2008.
Meanwhile, construction on Sabbia Beach, the 68-unit tower was designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, is slated to begin in June, Salvatore said. The building, where units range from $900,000 to $6.2 million, is 60 percent pre-sold, the developer added.
“We have a lot of buyers from Canada and the Northeast U.S.,” Salvatore said. “They love the affordability and the beaches in Pompano.”