Tag Archives: Urban Design & Planning

Pompano Beach Old Town Plaza

Agency

Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Government Management
Urban Design & Planning

Address

100 West Atlantic Blvd.
4th Floor
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Performance Period

2015-2016

Pompano Beach Old Town Plaza

Issue

In 2009 the City of Pompano Beach hired RMA to manage their two fledgling Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) districts. The city had no identifiable downtown core and no investment was being made by property owners creating a deteriorated enclave of buildings.

Strategy

The Northwest CRA district is comprised of approximately 3,000 acres, so RMA honed in on a target area to form the downtown. After many community meetings, a Downtown area consisting of a defined Old Town historic district on the east, a commerce and residential area on the west, and a civic and cultural campus to the south was formed.

The vision plan included specific recommendations for the placement of the future passenger rail station, development opportunities and streetscape improvements.

As Executive Director of the CRA, RMA has supervised the project management of the Old Town Plaza during design process and will continue all the way through construction.

Outcome

Old Town underwent a major transformation through a streetscape improvement project and renovation of the existing historic commercial buildings through the CRA’s incentive programs. These investments attracted over $400,000 in private investment to the Downtown. The streetscape project has enhanced the pedestrian experience in Old Town and will be further enriched by the completion of the Old Town Plaza. This urban plaza will include mature oaks, an area for special events and outdoor seating, as well as a water and fire featured fountain.

Pompano Beach Master Plan, Land Use Amendment & Zoning Regulations

Agency

Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Urban Design & Planning
Government Management

Address

100 West Atlantic Blvd.
4th Floor
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Performance Period

2010-2013

Pompano Beach Master Plan, Land Use Amendment and Zoning Regulations

Issue

On behalf of the City of Pompano Beach, RMA initiated a land use and zoning amendment for a 269 acre area generally known as the Downtown area of Pompano Beach. The area encompasses a 30 acre, vacant assemblage designated as a future Commerce Park, the historic Old Town District, and the Civic Commons where the future Cultural Center and Library will be located. None of the regulatory structure was in place to promote and encourage the type of development envisioned so a major effort was needed to amend the codes.

Strategy

The project entailed over 20 public meetings, including a design charrette with residents, in order to engage community input and support. RMA wrote the zoning regulations for the transit oriented corridor (TOC) and assisted the planning staff through its adoption. The general concept of the TOC calls for higher density mixed-use located in and around the two transit stations; one is the new bus terminal and the other is the future rail stop on Dixie Highway. The historic single family neighborhoods on the edges are preserved by maintaining their current designation. Specific zoning regulations were drafted to ensure the appropriate transition of height, setbacks and uses were maintained adjacent to the single family neighborhoods.

Outcome

In 2012, RMA’s Urban Design Director, Natasha Alfonso, received the Florida Redevelopment Association’s (FRA) Roy F. Kenzie award for the planning and design of the Transit Oriented Corridor. In 2014, a second FRA Roy F. Kenzie award was received for the zoning regulations of the Transit Oriented Corridor. In addition, Ms. Alfonso spoke on this subject at the national APA conference in 2015.

Delray Beach CRA Management

Agency

Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Government Management
Business Attraction & Marketing
Economic Development
Real Estate
Urban Design & Planning

Address

100 NW 1st Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444

Performance Period

Chris Brown (1991-2000) Diane Colonna (2000-2015)

City of Delray Beach CRA Management

Overview

Chris Brown managed the highly successful Delray Beach CRA from 1991-2000 and set the basis for enormous success in both retail redevelopment and urban housing. Upon his arrival, Mr. Brown identified specific redevelopment strategies for the CRA district and then drew upon the skill sets of a financial analyst, comptroller, housing and land acquisition coordinator, economic development coordinator and a West Atlantic community coordinator to implement the programming for the Agency.

Mr. Brown, as Executive Director of the CRA, wrote four updates to the CRA Redevelopment Plan. The first plan amendment, adopted in 1993, was critical because the initial Plan of 1985 was wholly inadequate. Subsequent plans included new programs resulting in highly active and aggressive CRA redevelopment activities.

Ensuring that the appropriate and most effective plans and programs were in place were key aspects of the Agency that led to the revitalization of the district. The programs focused on workforce and urban infill housing, parking, downtown marketing, land acquisition, mixed-use development, business loan program, façade grants, street beautification, community policing and cultural facilities. Largely due to his efforts, the TIF grew from $300,000 in 1991 to over $3 million in 2000.

Ms. Colonna assumed the reigns in 2000 and continued to build on the momentum. Major strides were made during her tenure during which the largest increase in property values was realized. Delray Beach has become a model for redevelopment in the state and nationwide due to their effective management skillsets.

Pompano Beach Streetscape Design & Construction Management

Agency

Pompano Beach City Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Urban Design & Planning
Construction Management
Government Management

Address

100 West Atlantic Blvd.
4th Floor
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Performance Period

2013 – Present

Pompano Beach Streetscape Design & Construction Management

Issue

The City of Pompano Beach had not invested in its beach and downtown infrastructure in decades and the city had a tired and outdated image. Private investors passed the city by when looking for redevelopment sites and even during the last real estate boom, only one new major development materialized. The Northwest CRA area is approximately 3000 acres, and other than some property assemblage and a few infill housing projects, no commercial development had occurred. There was no defined town center and the county library was on hold. The beach area was valuable real estate, however, there was no on street parking for visitors to the beach and the area was blighted. In 2009 the City hired RMA to devise a strategy to attract investment and turn the city around.

Strategy

After a plan was created to identify key investment areas, the Downtown core was defined and was to be comprised of three main areas including the Old Pompano historic retail district on the east, a commerce and residential area on the west, and a civic and cultural center to the south. Through the center of the Downtown runs the FEC Railway which will provide future passenger rail service and a stop in the Downtown. Additionally, the Broward County Transit facility is currently situated in the Downtown. The most glaring issue was the dated public realm and lack of pedestrian amenities. RMA provided a plan to heavily invest in the public domain and leverage the investment to attract private investors. RMA worked with the community in the Downtown to understand their concerns and developed a vision plan that included specific recommendations for the placement of the future passenger rail station, development opportunities and streetscape improvements. RMA amended the Land Use Plan to create the Downtown Transit Oriented Corridor and created a form-based code to support the vision plan, which was adopted in January of 2013. The beach went through the same process but included major investment to the dune system, the sidewalks and the overall parking envelope. RMA oversaw the entire project programming and managed the consulting and construction teams.

Outcome

Over $12 million was invested along Atlantic Boulevard and Pompano Beach Boulevard and another $13 million in Old Town and along MLK. During the public improvement process, rebranding the area was essential and resulted in major developer interest in the city. A $50 million project is under construction at the beach and the first residential development along Atlantic Boulevard broke ground due to the City’s newly formed commitment to its public realm.

West Palm Beach Visioning & Downtown Master Plan

Agency

West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Urban Design & Planning
Economic Development
Government Management
Master Plan
Visioning

Address

401 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Performance Period

2013 – Present

West Palm Beach Visioning & Downtown Master Plan

Issue

The CRA of West Palm Beach retained RMA to develop a master plan for the North End of West Palm Beach, which encompasses the Northwood/Pleasant City CRA and three mixed-use districts (Currie Park, Northwood Village and the Broadway Corridor) and the Pleasant City neighborhood. In addition to the master plan, the CRA retained RMA to amend the Comprehensive Master Plan and zoning regulations for the three mixed-use districts based on the new vision plan. RMA organized and conducted a 7-day design workshop within the community that engaged a great number of residents, business owners and stakeholders within the North End. The goal of the design workshop was to create a vision and an implementation strategy for the redevelopment of the North End, which has faced years of stagnation due to economic downturns and shortfalls in the current zoning regulations.

Strategy

The Currie Park area is situated on the east side of the CRA along the Intracoastal Waterway. This area has the largest number of vacant properties within the North End and the greatest interest for redevelopment due to its location. The master plan for this area focused on creating a physical and visual connection to Currie Park and the waterway. The Northwood area is the North End’s entertainment district with an eclectic mix of restaurants, galleries and shops. This area’s success is due to the rebranding and marketing strategies implemented by RMA. The district, however, still has room for growth. The master plan proposes a transit oriented district anchored on the west end by a future passenger rail station along the FEC. The Broadway Corridor is characterized today by crime and blight. The master plan recommended various development scenarios and specific streetscape improvements to the roadway to support the proposed development. The Pleasant City Neighborhood is the oldest African American neighborhood within the City. The master plan identified specific streetscape improvements, new green-ways and open spaces as well as infill opportunities for single family.

RMA has completed, through adoption, the Comprehensive Plan and zoning amendments for the Currie Mixed-Use District and is currently working on the text changes for the Northwood and Broadway Mixed-Use Districts Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations based on the new vision plan.

Outcome

The completion of the vision for Currie along with the subsequent zoning changes, garnered interest from developers immediately. The entire 20 acres was purchased by one developer, who subsequently created a master plan nearly mirroring the RMA plan. The developer plans to begin development with a 47,000SF urban grocer within the district along with a 15-story residential property and improvements to Currie Park, which could include a marina and two restaurants. It is estimated that this first phase could bring over $1 million per year in additional tax increment to the Northwood/Pleasant City CRA.

Pompano Beach CRA Management

Agency

Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Business Attraction & Marketing
Government Management
Economic Development
Public-Private Development
Real Estate
Urban Design & Planning

Address

100 West Atlantic Blvd.
4th Floor
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Performance Period

2009 – Present

City of Pompano Beach CRA Management

Overview

RMA contracted with the City of Pompano Beach in 2009 to manage two CRA districts. After a very brief period of planning and preparation, the city’s transformation began. The host of redevelopment activities included infrastructure and streetscape improvements, new public facilities, new cultural facilities, upgrades to strip centers and storefronts, business attraction and regulatory amendments. These efforts prompted private investment from new and existing businesses. In addition, parking revenues on the beach have increased from $550,000 per year to over $1,000,000 per year.

Pompano Beach Boulevard Streetscape Improvements Project

The RMA team managed The Pompano Beach Boulevard Streetscape and Dune Enhancement project, which is the CRA’s most visible and strategic improvement project. The redevelopment has catalyzed the area creating a new family environment and atmosphere on the beach. The entire beach project was completed over an aggressive 18-month period. Historically the terminus of Atlantic Boulevard was a blighted parking lot on the beach, and residents resented the public parking near their buildings. They had long since lobbied to remove the public parking, which would make the area uninviting to city residents. A complete renovation, including a mindset change, was required to open the beach to the public for better access. Passive green spaces with meandering walkways were designed to invite residents and tourists alike to come and enjoy the family atmosphere now found on the oceanfront.

An interactive fountain was built to attract families, and the adjoining lawn area provides a location for community enjoyment such as yoga and exercise, weddings and other family oriented activities.

Atlantic Boulevard Streetscape Improvements

The Atlantic Boulevard project entailed narrowing the roadway from three lanes in each direction to two lanes, and to widen the sidewalks for the promenade entry to the beach.

This was a joint partnership agreement (JPA) with FDOT, the City of Pompano Beach, and the Pompano Beach CRA to coordinate the reconstruction of Atlantic Boulevard in an effort to improve the overall character of the area.

The results of this concerted effort are increased visibility for merchants, enhanced tourist opportunities, and increased private development (particularly for restaurants, retail, and entertainment). This $6M investment among the three agencies has already produced dramatic results for the business community with between 10 and 50% increase in sales at the completion of construction May 2013.

Pier Lot Public-Private Development Agreement

The city had tried for over a decade to attract private development to a vacant six-acre parcel at the foot of the pier. Despite its beachfront locale, the site sat vacant due to the dilapidated beach environment and lack of private sector developer interest in the site. RMA was able to utilize the rehabilitation of the beachfront to reposition the beach property as a prime redevelopment site. An RFQ was issued and the city recently approved a development agreement for a $40 million project including a boutique hotel, restaurants and beach-oriented retail.

East CRA Zoning Overlay & Design Standards

RMA prepared a zoning overlay district for the East CRA Area together with design guidelines and a land use amendment for the Historic Downtown under the County’s designation of a Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a new zoning classification, as well as a zoning overlay that contained design standards for buildings and signs.

Communications Strategy

RMA created a communications strategy for the Pompano Beach CRA which increased awareness and education within the community about a variety of new plans and redevelopment. Social media has provided a digital presence that acts as an online portal for many residents and visitors. In less than one year, RMA has built a community-centered page that both serves its members as a hub for involvement, but also provides a place for people to feel at home and engage with their neighbors.

Branding

The City of Pompano Beach was perceived by the development community as a place to pass over when seeking investment sites, and as an aging and tired city with no real image by the general populace. RMA assisted the city in the branding process by introducing a new look and tag line that featured the welcoming attitude of its residents, who tended to be generational and very proud of their city.

The Branding was extended during events to include the sub tag line of “It’s How You Feel When You’re Here”. The tag line was designed to draw upon people’s desire to be where they feel accepted and welcomed, one of the three main indicators of a desirable place to live according to the Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Communities Study.

Margate City Center

Agency

Margate Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Economic Development
Real Estate
Urban Design & Planning

Address

5790 Margate Blvd.
Margate, FL 33063

Performance Period

2013 – Present

Margate City Center, Public-Private Partnership, and City Center Master Plan

Issue

The City of Margate’s Community Redevelopment Agency (MCRA) had assembled 36 acres of property within the City’s Transit Oriented Corridor to redevelop as a vibrant downtown with a mix of uses for work, living and entertainment. Several attempts had been made over the years to engage a private developer to partner in building out the project, without success. The MCRA engaged RMA to assist in the process of securing a qualified development firm for this public-private project.

Strategy

RMA’s approach was to first work with the MCRA to clarify the vision for the project by developing a conceptual master plan for the site. The purpose of the plan was to provide a framework for developers to follow and signify the agency’s commitment to seeing the project through to fruition. The plan identified the downtown’s main streets and civic center and established a network of parks and open spaces integrally connected to the new mixed-use center and residential neighborhoods. RMA next implemented a 2-stage solicitation process (RFQ & RFP) that incorporated the master plan exhibits and enumerated the MCRA’s goals for the new city center. The RFQ was heavily marketed to established development firms in the South Florida area.

Outcome

Four qualified firms responded to the RFQ, and the two top-ranked firms were invited to proceed on to the Request for Proposals process. After an intensive review and ranking process, the MCRA selected New Urban Communities/Dover Kohl & Partners as its development partner.

New Urban’s $150 million plan for the Margate City Center incorporates many of the features proposed in RMA’s master plan, including the creation of a cohesive mixed-use town center, enhancement of the waterfront edge with a linear park, amphitheater and boat launch, and an integrated network of local streets and green spaces. The development team is working with the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to re-design the adjacent State Road 7/US 441 corridor as a pedestrian/bicycle friendly roadway. RMA has been retained by the Margate CRA to negotiate the developer agreement and provide management services for the CRA, including the implementation of the public components that are an integral part of this project. City Center is expected to break ground in the fall of 2016.

Coral Springs Downtown Master Plan

Agency

Coral Springs Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Urban Design & Planning

Address

9551 W. Sample Road Coral Springs, FL 33065

Performance Period

2013 – 2014

Coral Springs Downtown Master Plan

Issue

RMA was retained by the CRA to revise their CRA Plan. The CRA is approximately 136 acres which comprises the entire downtown area. As part of the CRA Plan, RMA developed a vision plan for their downtown in order to create a guideline for the redevelopment and establish consistency with the Local Activity Center designation. RMA organized and conducted a design workshop within the community that engaged a great number of residents, business owners and stakeholders within the downtown.

Strategy

The Downtown area encompasses the old City Hall site, the future municipal complex, the business and office districts, part of the hospital district, the County Library and City Charter site. The overall plan concept suggests a more integrated street network with new streets, new pedestrian paths and passageways, aesthetic upgrades to drainage canals, 12.65 acres of new public open space and great plazas, a dynamic mix of uses including 1900 multi-level residential units, 200 townhomes, and 215,000 square feet of retail, as well as cultural and educational opportunities. These elements are incorporated into distinct sub areas each with their own identity and character.

Outcome

The immediate objective for the next five years is to focus on the Downtown Core to capitalize on the redevelopment activities from the Municipal Complex and to build new infrastructure to support additional development. The key priorities include completing an art walk, streetscape improvements, and new streets to complete the street grid. Another key priority is property acquisition and public-private partnerships for the purposes of redeveloping the Downtown Core and the NE neighborhood, and redeveloping public property within the Educational Core in the first five years.