Ground breaking ceremony marks new era in business development on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Local government officials and community leaders take part in groundbreaking ceremony signaling the start of a new 4000 square foot retail shopping center, which will be located in the 700 block of MLK, Jr. Boulevard. This City’s Northwest Community Reinvestment Agency has several additional projects planned for 2012 and 2013.
By Charles Moseley
City officials, community leaders, and local residents gathered on Friday morning Sept. 7, 2012 for a groundbreaking ceremony which marked a historic occasion for the City of Pompano Beach.
The event signaled the beginning of a new era of economic redevelopment spear-headed by the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and is the first new business development project along the Martin Luther King, Jr. corridor in 50 years.
The new development will be located in the City’s Northwest section on the 700 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. It will consist of 4000 square feet of business space. So far plans call for the construction of a retail shopping center along with a soul food restaurant.
The projected completion date for construction of the project is in the spring of 2013.
“This is fantastic. It has been long, long over due. This is the first commercial building that has been built by the City’s CRA on MLK, Jr. Boulevard. We have hired Pinnacle Construction a minority owned Construction Company out of Tallahassee to develop the project. They are going to be using all local subcontractors out of the district to do the work. I am very happy about that and very proud to be from Pompano Beach on a day like today. This is a sign of things to come by the Northwest CRA,” said Commissioner Woodrow “Woody” Poitier.
The Northwest CRA district’s Industrial Area is comprised of 850 acres. It is conveniently located between two major rail corridors, I-95 and the Turnpike. It is expected to provide employment opportunities for Pompano Beach residents and produce a major economic boom to an area sorely in need of a shot in its economy.
As of this date the City has allocated $10 million for improvements in the Downtown Connectivity Plan along with an additional $9 million allocation for an updated Civic Campus with the addition of a new Broward County Library. They also have earmarked $4 million for new construction and have made approximately $2million in incentives available for the 2011/2012 fiscal year.
“Minority owned businesses need to connect with the CRA Resource Center and get their names on the list if they want to participate in future projects such as this one today. As far as the people who live in District 4 of Pompano Beach just stand by and watch out for the future. This is my home and former Commissioner E. Pat Larkin did a good job on the housing development and it’s up to me to continue with the business portion. My job is to make sure that it is done right,” Commissioner Poitier added.
Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said the Northwest CRA Project signaled the end of many years of frustration by local residents who had grown tired of empty promises. Mayor Fisher joined with fellow commissioners to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony and pointed out that this was only the beginning of greater things to come in the future in the city of Pompano Beach.
“This project is the most significant project that has occurred in 50 years along the MLK Corridor. That’s how important it is to be able to provide and build a facility that its local businesses can lease and thrive in our own city. In the spring of 2013 you will see the Alai Building with a full entertainment center coming on board. You will see the Bailey Hotel with a display for an art’s district and so it is truly the beginning. Finally, we are all here and it is happening after so many years people have been so disappointed year after year, but now we’re moving forward. It’s not stopping now. The train has left the station. This project has been made possible by the leadership of Commissioner Poitier in cooperation with members of the RMA, with public and private partnership it has really shown itself here to where we could not move it through the governmental process but bringing them on board within two years this is where we’re at. This is obviously creating jobs in our local community through our local workforce and the contractor who is doing the project is committed to obviously getting with Pompano Beach based sub-contractors. It has been a goal from the very beginning by this City Commission that we employ our own to have our own work in our own projects, “said Mayor Fisher.
The mayor acknowledged one of the first tenants expected to operate their business in the retail center. Bonita Brown and husband Bernard Nobles have signed on to open a restaurant apply named B & B’s Fine Cuisine, which is scheduled for a grand opening in the spring of 2013. They graduated from the CRA training program.
“If it had not been for the CRA I can honestly say that we would not have been successful up until this point,” said Brown.
The Northwest CRA is a 3,084 acre area which already has seen the development of several housing projects with another 65 acres of land allocated for new development. In addition to a new Broward Transit Center Facility there are plans to develop the FEC railroad into a mass transit facility.
Former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore has worked as a consultant for the Northwest CRA. He commended the city’s elected officials, Northwest CRA Advisory Board members, and the local business community for joining forces to make the dreams of many in the community a reality. He said without their collective effort this day would not have been possible.
“These individuals are the ones who made possible for this resurgence in your community to take place. These individuals worked tirelessly and worked to create opportunities for residents of Pompano Beach today you’re going to hear how their actions are coming to reality. This is a very positive opportunity for the residents of Pompano Beach. The governmental leadership here is putting its money where its mouth is. They are creating a 4000 square foot operation for restaurants and commercial operations here on MLK, Jr. Boulevard. The Northwest Advisory Board of the CRA has been saying they want something to come out of the ground, the elected officials including Woody Poitier as well as Mayor Fisher have said that their going to do it and today is proof that the ground is being broke on that,“ said Moore.
Deborah Anthony Chairperson of the CRA Northwest Advisory Board, worked along with fellow community leaders to insure that the City would make good on it’s promise to promote economic development to an area of the city which had suffered many years of neglect characterized by urban blight and all the negative aspects that come with a lack of economic opportunity in the community.
“Lot’s of people have said, “When is something going to happen on MLK? Well today is the day. And today is a new beginning for our future for our children’s future, economic development, and job creation. We have a lot to look forward to. Due to the leadership of this fine city, Mayor Fisher and Commissioner Poitier and other commissioners we need to push forward together, we need to get behind them and help make this dream come true. As a community you all should be excited about what a great job our community leaders have been doing.”
The City has designated an area along MLK, Jr. Boulevard as a HUBZone and Enterprise Zone and provided local members of the community with assistance through the Pompano Beach CRA Business Resource Center with staffing and business loan assistance. Several businesses and local organizations have taken advantage of this opportunity.
Restaurant entrepreneur Harry Harrell was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony. He is the Director of the Education Foundation for the Eta Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. which was founded in Pompano Beach in 1969. The Black Greek lettered organization is involved with many social and civic activities designed to improve the community.
“For several years now we’ve been working with the City of Pompano Beach trying to get a project just like this done on main street MLK. And in support of the Mayor and the City Commissioners several of my fraternity brothers and I are here supporting them to show that we are 100 percent behind them and that we are very anxious about our project. We’re very happy that we got a six to zero unanimous vote from the Commission in support of our project. We are in the process and hopefully by some point next year we’ll be doing the same thing with the Eta Nu Education Foundation.” Our project is a 4000 square foot building which will be on the corner of Northwest 10th Avenue and MLK. It will be a facility that will house our social action projects for our mentorship programs along with the tutoring and social programs. It will also be a facility that will provide the community the opportunity for rental space for things like bridal showers and retirement parties, just giving them another outlet or structure that they’ll be able to have those types of things.”
Freeman R.L Macon Funeral Home, which has been in operation for over 50 years, is owned by Richard L. Macon. At 83-year-old Macon said he was glad to be able to see the beginning of the transformation of the community.
“I always dreamed of this day coming or shall I say I dreamed that this day might come. I didn’t know whether I would live to see it but thank God almighty he allowed me to live to see it.” I hope that young people will take advantage of this opportunity to become great businessmen and business women in our community.”