Sunday, November 08, 2015
IT’S ALL ABOUT PROGRESS
Now that Florida East Coast Railway has negated objections to the train route, Palm Beach county is about to thrive.
The Railway is building communities with apartments, condos, restaurants, offices, retail shops and parking garages at stops in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and that will boost inventory, much needed, when completed. More stations will also have a windfall of new development and that will bring in tax revenue, some of which will be applied to the cost of running the railroad, and revitalize rundown areas. Residents who live in these new properties may be train riders. Shops may have their employees riding the rails.
Tri-Rail has proposed 28 stations and new developments in those areas along their Tri-Rail Coastal Link on their eastern tracks, from Jupiter to Miami, which run almost parallel to I-95.
Nearly 2500 new residences and 4.4MM sq ft of commercial space may be built in the next 10 years, if the Coastal Link is built. A $1.25MM federal grant for some of the developments has been given to Coastal Link. Broward County stations could have 4,220 new residenceds and 3.2MM sq ft of commercial space. Tribune
\That could translate into nearly $5 million in extra taxes collected in both Palm Beach and Broward counties.
"A lot of the cities are thinking, 'How can I attract a station here and get economic value from it?'" said Jack Stephens, Tri-Rail's executive director. These cities will be expected to help maintain and operate the stations. Cities are adjusting their zoning laws to encourage these developments which complement public transportation.
Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Boynton Beach created special areas in their downtowns to allow these types of developments near potential stations. Delray Beach also has been making similar adjustments to its rules. Even as its downtown is booming with development, Mayor Cary Glickstein said there is still room for office space. "Not 'class-A' shiny buildings, but smaller-scale buildings that honor our town and will attract knowledge-based rather than service-based employment," he said.
Young folks and older adults want to live close to public transportation where it is easy to get around without a car. In West Palm Beach, Transit Village, a 1.1MM sq ft development will include a hotel, offices, 400 apartments, retail shops, civic and community space.
Construction will begin early next year. One place may just offer housing while another offers office buildings. Each location is expected to be distinctive, fitting in with each downtown's character.
Positive spin here!