The Bayfront Community Redevelopment District (“District”) is situated along the Indian River Lagoon within the city limits of Palm Bay. The District’s bayfront location creates an ideal environment for water and outdoor-related recreational activities from boating, fishing, paddle boarding to running and hiking trails or cycling and participating in group 5k runs along Turkey Creek and along the bayfront.
The City of Palm Bay and the Bayfront Community Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) jointly own approximately seven acres of uplands on U.S. Highway 1/Dixie Highway. A portion of this assemblage includes the Pelican Harbor Marina, a former active marina providing rental of boat slips and facilities. Currently, the City and CRA lease the existing building to Paddling Paradise, a recreational paddling and kayaking rentals company and long-standing partner of the City. The City and CRA are actively seeking development opportunities for the waterfront property, specifically commercial restaurant, retail, boating, and other water-related recreational services. Such development will serve as a catalyst for future waterfront development, an integral component for the creation of a Bayfront downtown village concept.
The District is home to major defense and information communication technology contractors as well as aviation and aerospace engineering employers such as Raytheon Technologies, Renesas Electronics, and L3Harris’s 136-acre campus (formerly Harris Corporation). The Bayfront Redevelopment District is also home to Florida Tech’s Research & Development Center focusing on innovation, development and economic growth on the Space Coast.
In fall of 2018, defense and cybersecurity contractor Raytheon Technologies completed renovations at their 68,000 square-foot manufacturing facility. This formerly vacant facility in the Bayfront Redevelopment District serves as an expansion of Raytheon’s Massachusetts-based operation and has been upgraded to meet federal security specifications. This expansion is expected to bring 500 new high-tech jobs in two phases to the District and City of Palm Bay.Florida Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID) is expected to open in fall 2019. CAMID is a 100,000 square-foot facility featuring the latest digital modeling, simulation and visualization technology, cutting-edge computer-driven manufacturing equipment, 3-D metal and other material printing, industry-leading experts and resources, and hands-on experience with latest digital development and manufacturing software and hardware to name a few.
In winter 2019, the Bayfront CRA and City of Palm Bay welcomed the grand opening of The Evans Center, located within the Driskell Heights neighborhood. The Evans Center is a $1.5 million project funded by the Florida Community Loan Fund, contributions from an anonymous donor, the Corporate Property Group, the Community Foundation for Brevard, the Space Coast Health Foundation, local businesses, churches, and residents, as well as a $250,000 allocation by the Bayfront CRA Board, to assist with the construction of a new building. The Center features a multi-purpose room for classes and community gatherings such as technology training, financial literacy, and community activities, a health clinic in collaboration with the Brevard Health Alliance and offers a full-service market and deli. The Evans Center is a critical project for stabilizing the community and stimulating economic growth in the District.
The Bayfront welcomes new Class A development projects such as The Aqua Palm Bay Apartments. This $52.9 million mixed-use development project consists of 320 new apartments offering luxury-style amenities with nearly 60,000 square feet of commercial restaurant and retail to be situated along Robert J. Conlan Boulevard.
Riverview Senior Resort offering resort-style assisted living along the Indian River shoreline with phase two, an independent living facility expansion, anticipated in 2020. Phase two will provide 110 independent living spaces, dining and recreation space, as well as a lounge and bar with screened in patio, exercise room, and a club room.
At the regular meeting of the Bayfront CRA held on July 23, 2019, the Board approved funding for improvements to Liberia Park, located at 2197 Northview Street SE in the Driskel Heights sub-district of the Bayfront CRA. The proposed improvements included proper park signage, enhanced lighting, purchase and installation of sunshade, landscape improvements to include 10-15 palm trees, parking improvements, splash pad repair, removal of unsafe playground equipment, and the addition of a picnic table. Improvements are currently underway and is expected to be complete before the end of the 2019 calendar year.
At the regular meeting of the Bayfront CRA held on July 23, 2019, the Board approved funding for improvements to the existing monolith sign at the intersection of Port Malabar Boulevard and U.S. 1/Dixie Highway. The monolith sign that currently serves as a landmark for residents in the Bayfront and was constructed by the former General Development Corporation (GDC). With increased development interest along the US 1/Dixie Highway corridor, the monolith sign is perfectly situated to serve as a gateway feature for the Bayfront area. Branding the district as a waterfront destination will encourage redevelopment of the US 1 corridor and provide a sense of identity to the Bayfront redevelopment district.
Currently, the monolith is in disrepair with structural damage to the lower planter bed due to overgrown palm trees as well as structural damage to the sign and ground lighting due to vehicle impact. Proposed improvements to the monolith include removal of all palm trees within the lower planter bed to be replaced with low-maintenance landscaping, creation of a berm (to be sodded and planted) immediately east of the monolith to serve as a protective barrier for both the sign and any potential vehicle impact, removal and replacement of existing up-lighting, complete removal of lighting affixed to the top of the monolith, power wash and seal monolith structure, fresh coat of paint to both planter beds, and new signage depicting, “THE BAYFRONT.”
Improvements are expected to begin in October 2019.