Redeveloping Downtown Pompano Beach

Downtown Pompano Beach in the mid-1920s.
The Bailey Hotel (right) and the Bank of Pompano (far right) buildings can be seen. Both are still standing today and currently undergoing renovations to be reopened as commercial spaces.

The City of Pompano Beach is actively working on redeveloping its historic downtown area. Pompano is a city of about 100,000 in northeastern Broward County, just north of Miami. Pompano is the third most important city in the “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area,” with a big economic impact on the region, yet it has no real downtown, central core. Historically, Pompano’s downtown was the few blocks just northeast of today’s intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway. With the rapid suburban-style development of Pompano beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, Pompano’s downtown was completely abandoned.

Tri-Rail FEC railway station

Schematic future Downtown Pompano Beach passenger rail station

Although little remains of Pompano’s historic downtown today, city leaders are pushing for its revitalization. A architectural design charrette was held in December of 2011 to prepare a master plan for a future transit-oriented downtown. The idea leading the charrette was increasing development intensity and population density around the future passenger rail station that is proposed for Atlantic Boulevard in the heart of Pompano’s downtown. In an area that is currently completely underutilized with a shocking amount of vacant lots and empty storefronts, would sit an urban neighborhood that is walkable, bikeable and liveable with housing for varied incomes and a diverse range of jobs. Of course, that’s the vision.
Existing Conditions:

Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Existing vacant parcels

Existing Vacant Parcels
Yellow on the map indicates vacant parcels. The downtown area clearly has a high number of vacant parcels ready to be developed.

Downtown Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Existing streets and parks

Existing  Streets and Parks
Currently, the area’s street grid is weak and not adequate for an urban environment. Numerous dead end streets do not connect to main arteries creating dead zones. Some streets have are so underutilized and neglected that they are barely paved, and some are straight up dirt roads.

Proposed Master Plan:

Downtown Pompano transit-oriented corridor

Downtown Pompano Beach Master Plan

Downtown Pompano Beach Master Plan
The proposed passenger rail station would be located on the northeast corner of the two main axis, Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway. Density and development intensity uses would radiate from here.

Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Proposed building heights

Proposed Building Heights
Red: 6 to 8 stories high
Blue: 4 to 6 stories high
Grey: 2 to 4 stories high
Yellow: 1 to 2 stories high

Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Proposed street grid

Proposed Street Grid
The proposed street grid seeks to bring back the area’s original street grid by extending roads to create better connectivity. A stronger street grid provides a safer and more enjoyable environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Neighborhoods structure

Neighborhoods Structure
Each neighborhood in the master plan is designed with a slightly different character. For example, Coleman Park will remain almost exclusively single-family residential, Commerce Park would be a business park with offices above ground-floor retail and Old Pompano will include apartments and offices above ground-floor retail.

Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Proposed open and green spaces

Proposed Open and Green Spaces
Each neighborhood in the master plan is designed to include a central green space or public gathering space. These spaces would connect to the train station and other neighborhoods through a linear set of green spaces.

Downtown Pompano Beach transit-oriented corridor

Proposed bicycle master plan

Proposed Bicycle Master Plan
In red: to the left is the recently completed Broward County Transit bus transfer center and to the right is the proposed passenger rail station.

For this vision to come to fruition, many important elements need to come into place. For starters, the “transit-oriented corridor” needs transit. Without the planned Tri-Rail expansion to downtown, much of this plan could be hard to accomplish. The bright spot is that despite years of delays, the Tri-Rail expansion down the Florida East Coast Railway was fastracked in March 2012 with plans to start operation as early as 2014 or 2015. If all the pieces can fall together for this visionary master plan, including proper real estate, infrastructure and financial demands, then this plan could be a successful project that finally gives Pompano the downtown it has been lacking for decades.

Further reading:

Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), September 2012: Downtown Pompano TOC

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