All Aboard Florida’s South Florida high-speed passenger train line, scheduled to open in 2017, should help lift the downtown West Palm Beach real estate market, local property professionals told The Real Deal.
“In the big picture, this is fantastic for South Florida,” Harvey Oyer, a real estate lawyer for Shutts & Bowen, told TRD. “To what extent it’s positive remains to be seen. It depends how many people the train will bring here.”
The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Orlando train will stop in downtown West Palm, at a station located between Rosemary Street and Quadrille Boulevard, and Datura Street and Evernia Street.
The projected one-hour travel time between West Palm and Miami is crucial, Jonathan Satter, managing director of commercial real estate firm Avison Young, told TRD. “Hopefully it will be the lynch pin to attracting large corporate headquarters downtown, which would spur new office building development.”
Companies would find West Palm more attractive because they know the train will make it easier to recruit workers living in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
“It opens the door to a lot of companies that want a southeastern presence, but formerly considered only Miami,” Satter said. “Now they may be considering markets further north. We’re already seeing that on the residential side.”
The train station’s location between CityPlace and Clematis Street/downtown represents a major plus for real estate, Oyer said. “Putting that many people between the two areas fills a gap,” he noted. “Now there are vacant blocks with empty industrial buildings.” More people creates opportunities for real estate of all sorts.
The All Aboard line might draw some professionals who commute on the train to live downtown, experts said. Florida East Coast Industries, which owns All Aboard Florida, has plans for a 275-unit, 23-story apartment building on Evernia just west of Quadrille. Given the heavy amount of residential units planned and under construction downtown, “I don’t know how deep and how easily an FEC tower will be absorbed,” Oyer said.
In May, Alliance Residential Co., the country’s biggest apartment developer, revealed plans for a 322-unit building across Quadrille Boulevard from the train station.
Tourism would also be affected, industry insiders said, benefiting hotels, retailers and restaurants.