James Ruggia | Travel Pulse
All Aboard Florida, the project that will bring express rail connectivity between Miami and Orlando, when it opens in 2016, unveiled plans for a major component of the project, the West Palm Beach Station. ABF is building three railway stations to serve their trains, in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with each one designed to be a major component in its host city’s cultural and commercial life. The All Aboard Florida project will exploit an already existing 230-mile long rail corridor that connects Miami to Orlando via Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Yesterday, Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoia joined All Aboard Florida executives unveiled the designs for the station. To be located between the city’s government center and its Performing Arts Center, the 60,000-square-foot station will join several transportation systems including the existing Tri-Rail and Amtrak stations and the neighborhood’s trolley and pedestrian networks.
“We have been working closely with the city staff to develop a station and overall master plan that makes the downtown area even more dynamic,” said P. Michael Reininger, president and chief development officer of All Aboard Florida. “We fully expect this underdeveloped part of the city to see a dramatic change with new development that will be spurred by the transit activity we are leading.”
“That new location will be a nexus for downtown and provide direct and efficient connectivity to the hubs of Orlando and Downtown Miami,” said Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO, Zyscovich Architects. “The station will be a catalyst for redevelopment, enhancing the opportunities for additional Transit Oriented Development on the west side of downtown.”
All three of All Aboard Florida’s planned new stations are being designed to serve as transit hubs and important destinations within each city. Economists estimate that All Aboard Florida will add more than $6 billion to Florida’s economy over the next eight years, including $164 million in economic impact for Palm Beach County through 2021. More than 1,200 jobs will be created in Palm Beach County through the construction of the station and the rail line.
The coming of the All Aboard Line should produce a sea change in Floridian tourism. Today the state’s tourism revolves around two hubs: Orlando with its theme parks and Miami and its sophisticated urban experience. The introduction of a comfortable, service-oriented train experience that connects the two via three-hour ride will go a long way towards unifying Florida’s tourism, extending stays and spreading the revenues.