Brightline boosts South Florida real estate

One of the biggest selling points for our South Florida luxury real estate projects is their proximity to the new Brightline service that provides hourly rail transportation connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

Travel from Miami to Orlando in three hours is slated to start in 2021.

Brightline plans to eventually expand the service to Tampa.

Brightline President and CEO Patrick Goddard, whom The Real Deal Publisher Amir Korangy interviewed at its Fifth Annual Real Estate Showcase & Forum, talked about the need for the $4 billion privately funded express premium service, pointing out I-95 cannot handle the 365 million annual trips back and forth from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

Goddard joked there are two things you can see from outer space: the Great Wall of China and the Broward-Miami-Dade county line. He said Brightline’s high-speed service allows one to avoid the traffic jam and actually make it back to the office after traveling back and forth.

The trip from Miami to Fort Lauderdale is under 30 minutes and to West Palm Beach is under an hour.

“We spent three-and-a-half years upgrading that existing (Florida East Coast Railroad) track and adding a second and upgrading all the crossings and signals,” said Goddard. And that work is continuing toward Orlando.

Operated by All Aboard Florida, Brightline can take 7,500 people a day–each train takes 250 passengers. “We intend to add capacity (to 500) as the business grows,” he said.

One could travel from Miami to West Palm Beach for as little as $20.

He said the missing piece for the South Florida region was the mobility: “You’re selling a region–-access to dining, entertainment, education, health care in all three markets.”

Passengers can use the time aboard to work using wifi and outlets or to have a meal and cocktails.

“We find ourselves at the intersection of transportation and hospitality,” said Goddard, who previously worked in hotel management. “We want to deliver an experience.”

The company is also working on connecting Southern California to Las Vegas in under two hours through rail.

Brightline’s mixed-use MiamiCentral in Overtown features retail, residential units, and offices including Viacom’s MTV Latin America, the Confederation of North Central America and Caribbean Association Football, and Atlantic Pacific Companies as well as connection with Metrorail, Metromover, and Tri-Rail.

“As we extend to Orlando and to Tampa and beyond,” Goddard summed up, “we think it is going to be very accretive to the real estate industry here in Florida.”