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Pompano and Circumstance

On July 19, Bethesda, Md.-based Urgo Hotels and Resorts will open a 219-room, 90-employee hotel on the oceanfront in Pompano Beach, the first resort in the city in more than a decade. Urgo bought an old 80-room hotel and adjoining condo building out of foreclosure, stripped the hotel down to its rebar and concrete and demolished the condo to build its new Marriott Resort. General manager Rich Byrd forecasts the property will draw 80% of its business from the leisure market and 20% from group business. “It’ll be a broad spectrum of opportunity for us,” Byrd says.

Others are seeing additional opportunity in the city of 101,000. Earlier this year, Pompano, through its community redevelopment agency, completed a $10-million beach redevelopment, adding 109 on-street parking spots, building a promenade, fountain and play area and restoring dunes and the beach. It has cut a deal with Delray Beach developer New Urban Communities to take a parking lot opposite the pier and build up to 40,000 square feet of beach-oriented retail and restaurants, a parking deck and either a boutique hotel or an additional 10,000 square feet of retail. Work on the six-acre site should begin this year.

Meanwhile, Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown, whose firm, Redevelopment Management Associates runs the city CRA, report that two restaurant companies, including Montreal-based Madison’s, are planning to open restaurants nearby on the Intracoastal. They say also that the Argentine owners of a strategically located corner on Atlantic and Ocean boulevards have plans to build a 17-story hotel and condo project.

People are returning to Pompano, and lower condo prices are drawing year-round, working-age buyers, they say. “You’re seeing the demographics changing,” says Brown.