South Florida Surging Beach Town New 10 Million Beach Historic Lighthouse Free Fishing Pier And The Goodyear Blimp

Robert Walsh

For many years, Pompano Beach was looked on as a poor cousin to the town's more glamorous Atlantic Ocean neighbors of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. Mostly a sleepy beach town with an overabundance of 1970's highrise condos. 

The city, just north of Fort Lauderdale, has always been popular with the Florida water crowd, known for its excellent boating and fishing, an offshore living coral reef, some of the bluest ocean water in the world, and its annual Seafood Festival. But despite three miles of beach and the historic Hillsboro Lighthouse that anchors the north end of the beach, the city leaders seemed happy to lag behind the rest of South Florida.

Things started to change in the early 2000s when the Florida condo boom brought five new developments to the city, including the Plaza on Oceanside with over 200 upscale condos and 40,000 square feet of amenities – wine room, theatre, sports lounge, cigar room, golf simulator, tennis courts, fabulous pool, ocean and Intracoastal views. Even a free breakfast. While most other Florida towns struggled to sell their condo boom hangover, most of the Pompano Beach condo inventory was liquidated by 2012. Things went so well that a Canadian company picked the city as the site of the first new Florida residential development following the crash with 42 town homes one block from the beach. Their Barefoot Beach Villas were priced from the mid $300s and sold out in just a few months.

The city has already made great strides with a recently completed $10 million beach beautification project - a 3-mile stretch with wide beaches, picnic shelters, fancy children's play ground and even professional exercise equipment. Lots more is coming with new beach condos, restaurants and shopping. The centerpiece of the new development is a beach block project of open-air restaurants, shops, bars and a futuristic parking garage that starts construction next year.

On rainy days, the city is just a few miles from Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton and a quick drive via I-95 or picturesque A1A to Miami or Palm Beach. More things to do include a state-of-the-art sports complex over 400 acres with a Greg Norman designed golf course, a tennis complex with 16 professional clay courts that was rated one of the “top municipal tennis facilities in the country" by the United States Tennis Association, volleyball and basketball courts, pool, baseball field and a dog park. Good restaurants that are not too expensive include Houston's, J Marks, Fish Shack and Peking Duck. The city is a Goodyear Blimp Base, one of only four in the world, and home of the Florida Festival Flea Market with over 500 unique and sometimes unusual shops and restaurants.

While condo prices in much of South Florida are up about 20% since last year, Pompano Beach still offers affordable prices in many of its older buildings and friendlier prices in the town's newer upscale condos. Retro 1970's condos on the beach are available from $200,000. Newer condos and town homes range from the $400s to over $1 million. According to the real estate website Trulia, the median home sales price between mid May and mid August 2014 was $310,000 in Fort Lauderdale, $367,050 for Miami Beach, but just $152,000 in Pompano Beach.

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