The Real Deal Miami

Delayed $3B Brightline project to launch service this weekend

Downtown Miami station won’t open for a few months

Rendering of Brightline and Patrick Goddard (Credit: Brightline)

All Aboard Florida’s high-speed rail is set to finally launch to the public this weekend.

Brightline, the service that will eventually link Miami to Orlando, has been long awaited by the local development and tourism industries. Service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach will begin operating first, on Saturday, about six months behind schedule. The downtown Miami station is expected to launch service at some point over the next few months, according to a press release.

The company also promoted Patrick Goddard to president. Over the past year, two executives working on Brightline left – All Aboard Senior Vice President John Guitar joined Blanca Commercial Real Estate and Florida East Coast Industries President and CEO Vince Signorello resigned to launch his own real estate investment and development firm.

All Aboard’s $3 billion development is being privately financed through a combination of debt and equity. Brightline has said that the three South Florida rail stations are surrounded by about 4 million square feet of new development.

In downtown Miami, plans call for 1.5 million square feet of development covering six blocks around the downtown station, including 800-plus residences, 165,000 square feet of retail space and 300,000 square feet of Class A office space. In July, FECI closed on $130 million in EB-5 financing for the mixed-use MiamiCentral station.

In West Palm Beach, All Aboard is also building a 275-unit apartment complex next to the station. Developer Michael Masanoff is also planning a $300 million mixed-use Transit Village a few blocks away.

And in Fort Lauderdale, the company’s plans include a seven-story parking garage next to the Brightline station with 1,570 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

Brightline released introductory rates, starting at $10 per segment, for trips between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. A trip that can take about two hours in rush hour by car is expected to take 35 minutes via Brightline, the company said.