City and business leaders gathered on a construction site in downtown Fort Lauderdale Friday to celebrate the building of a train station intended to revolutionize travel in South Florida.
“There are three milestones in construction,” said Bob Moss, Chief Executive Officer of Moss & Associates. “First you sign the contract, then you top out and then you finish.”
Moss’ construction company has employed hundreds of people at the Brightline project, said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.
“This will be a economic stimulus for downtown Fort Lauderdale and eventually an economic engine for all of South Florida,” said Seiler, who attended Tuesday’s “topping out” ceremony along with district three commissioner Robert McKinzie and Broward County Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief.
Fully funded by private investors, Brightline promises to establish inner city express train service linking Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The first yellow colored train is expected to roll off the tracks in the summer of 2017.
“I’m going to hop on and hop off to go shopping, just like our tourists,” said Sharief.
The Fort Lauderdale station, planned and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP in association with Miami-based Zyscovich architects, is located north of Broward Boulevard, adjacent to the central bus terminal. The 60,000 square foot facility along NW 2nd Avenue is part of McKinzie’s northwest district that Seiler said is seeing remarkable growth and redevelopment.
In the future, passengers can travel from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale in two and half hours.
“We look at it as a two-way street,” Seiler said. “We want all the people that might go to Disney World for two or three days to say, ‘you know what, we’ve had a great time at the kids park, let’s go down for some adult more mature fun in Fort Lauderdale, Second Street, Las Olas, let’s hit the beach, let’s hit the Seminole Hard Rock Casino or one of the other casinos here.' So I think there’s definitely a opportunity for tourism to benefit here. We’re looking for as much economic impact coming in as we see going out.”