Pom­pano de­vel­op­ment look­ing way up

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Anne Geg­gis | Staff writer

Pom­pano Beach’s sky­line is soar­ing to new heights.

A plan for two high-rises fea­tures one that’ll be the tallest ever in the city, as high as 354 feet — the equiv­a­lent of about 35 sto­ries.

The City Com­mis­sion has given ini­tial ap­proval to the plan, and the project is tall enough that fed­eral avi­a­tion of­fi­cials got in­volved with the re­view.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion con­sid­ered the build­ing’s height and its prox­im­ity to two air­ports — the Pom­pano Air­park and Fort Laud­erdale Ex­ec­u­tive Air­port — to en­sure it wouldn’t ob­struct air­craft.

The taller of the two condo build­ings will sur­pass the twin tow­ers of the Pom­pano Beach Club North and South, which are 334 feet high.

But the new Pom­pano project won’t break any height record when com­pared with other high-rises in the county: Fort Laud­erdale has six high­rises that are taller, as are two build­ings in Sun­rise and three in Hal­lan­dale Beach.

Pom­pano Beach’s ap­proval of the

new build­ings may mark the end of a four-year saga that pit­ted neigh­bor­ing con­dos against the de­vel­op­ment. The plan’s op­po­nents had hired a lawyer to bat­tle the de­vel­op­ment.

Sev­eral peo­ple said their op­po­si­tion has since melted into sup­port.

“We worked hun­dreds of hours to stave off this project,” said By­ron Gra­ham, who lives in the 180-foot Wit­ting­ton Con­do­mini­ums, next to the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

Not­ing the con­ces­sions the de­vel­oper has made, he said, “We are very com­fort­able.”

The de­vel­oper of the project, Lion­heart Cap­i­tal, agreed with neigh­bors’ re­quests to re­duce traf­fic by al­low­ing only condo own­ers and their guests to use the planned spa and restau­rant in the plan.

Lion­heart also changed the ori­en­ta­tion of the build­ings so neigh­bors’ beach­side views were ob­structed as lit­tle as pos­si­ble.

The shorter build­ing that’ll be part of the project is 144 feet tall, or po­ten­tially 14 sto­ries. To­gether, the two build­ings will of­fer more than 200 res­i­dences.

At a pub­lic meet­ing Tues­day, the de­vel­oper also com­mit­ted to build­ing a pub­lic ac­cess to the beach on the south­east side of the project. It’ll be ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

Af­ter hardly any con­struc­tion since the 1970s, a new wave of con­struc­tion is hit­ting Pom­pano Beach:

■ Sab­bia, a 227-foot lux­ury condo de­vel­op­ment, is un­der con­struc­tion north of At­lantic Boule­vard, at 730 N. Ocean Blvd.

■ An ocean­front restau­rant, Pom­pano Beach House, opened late last month. It’s the first time din­ing is of­fered ocean­side in the city since 2012, when Hur­ri­cane Sandy dam­aged Fish­er­man’s Wharf and the city dis­con­tin­ued the lease.

■ A fish­ing vil­lage is tak­ing shape, with a sec­ond, ocean­front restau­rant un­der con­struc­tion. Di­rectly across the street, two re­tail build­ings have build­ing per­mits un­der re­view: One build­ing would have a beach­wear shop and the other a Kil­win’s and Burg­erFi.

Some res­i­dents have ques­tioned how much more traf­fic Pom­pano’s beach­side can han­dle.

Stephanie Toothaker, an at­tor­ney for the new high-rise project, said the condo de­vel­op­ment will mean 77 per­cent fewer car trips to the par­cel than what the land was pre­vi­ously ap­proved for: a 396-room ho­tel. It’s go­ing to be a lux­ury de­vel­op­ment, com­plete with valet park­ing, she said.

“We have come to you with a bet­ter project … one the city and the res­i­dents can be proud of,” she said.

This part of Pom­pano is zoned so that there are no spe­cific height lim­i­ta­tions, other than what the FAA de­crees is an ob­struc­tion to the nearby air­port. The FAA re­views a de­vel­op­ment if a build­ing is taller than 200 feet, or within 10,000 feet of an air­port, ac­cord­ing to Steve Rocco, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pom­pano Air­park.

Both fac­tors ap­plied to the build­ing on the east side, Rocco said. The FAA cleared the de­vel­op­ment for con­struc­tion. Next, the new build­ings face a sec­ond, City Com­mis­sion hear­ing and re­view by the Pom­pano Beach Air­park Over­lay District. And then site plans will be up for city re­view and com­ment.

STEPHANIE TOOTHAKER/LION­HEART CA/COUR­TESY

The plans in­clude a condo tower that will be the tallest build­ing in the city, about 35 sto­ries.

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