Vacant church to be redeveloped into two-building apartment complex

A vacant church is being slated for redevelopment into a mixed-use apartment complex in downtown Pompano Beach amidst the city’s revitalization efforts.

South Florida-based developer Cavache Properties plans to build a two-building apartment complex with about 3,400 square feet of commercial and retail space in Pompano’s Downtown Innovation District in the Old Town Arts and Entertainment Corridor. Expected to be called Old Town Towers, plans for the project include 319 residential units in a 10-story building and a six-story building connected by two pedestrian bridges. The complex will feature a fitness center, yoga deck, a swimming pool, spa, a clubhouse and residential lounge, among other amenities for residents.

“We have been in the area for a while building another project across the street,” said Adam Adache, managing partner of Cavache Properties, based in Pompano Beach. “We’ve been looking for land for a while to do additional product.”

Cavache Properties purchased about 5 acres of parcels of land from the Christ Church United Methodist campus in Pompano Beach for about $8.4 million, which Adache says hasn’t been operational for years.

The project is waiting approval from the Planning and Zoning Board this summer. If approved, the project is slated to have construction start in the next year, with units delivered within 18-24 months.

The project itself will be situated on about 2 acres of the 5-acre total. At this point, there are no immediate plans for the remaining parcels of land.

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There is a historic chapel on the property, which will be moved to a park to preserve it, Adache added.

Currently, the developer is working on the Old Town Square right next door to the potential upcoming project. Old Town Square is a 10-story, 281-unit mixed-use complex as well and should be delivered in about 4 months.

It’s become increasingly common for developers to turn to land owned by churches amidst a dwindling supply of land.

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“Churches are some of the largest landowners in the country other than governments,” noted Matt Messier, principal with the Orlando-based Foundry Commercial. “Especially in South Florida, land is becoming more and more expensive. There is not as much infill space so developers are going to churches because often times they are on main streets.”

As well, churches are usually sitting on large acreages of land, Messier added.

Other churches in South Florida have been re-purposed for residential or commercial use. The historical First Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Flagler Village, was converted a few years ago to become a nightclub and restaurant.

And for churches, the subsequent real estate deal can give them the opportunity to set up endowments or scholarships for the community.

“When you hear about a church selling to a developer, it’s not about the money, it’s about what they can do for the human condition,” Messier said.