TAMPA, FLA — Tampa’s Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, led a delegation of 20+ City Hall officials and business leaders to Brightline’s headquarters near downtown Miami. This exploratory visit by the Tampa group indicates a willingness to take a sneak peek into what may become Tampa’s future.
Among the Tampa delegation, Tampa International Airport administrators, representatives of Tampa Bay Lightning owner and developer Jeff Vinik, economic development officials and the Tampa Bay Rays’ chief development officer were in attendance.
While Buckhorn won’t be the mayor after May 1, his plan, as it is for his contingent, will be to see this High Speed Rail plan come to fruition in Tampa’s very near future. Taking the Brightline vision forward means that a commuter will be able to travel from Miami through Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and then into Tampa.
The private company, Brightline, invited the Tampa delegation specifically to take a very close up look at how Florida High Speed Rail transportation will be reshaped by their bold efforts. Florida’s future, and, in particular, Tampa’s future will forever be impacted by this initiative.
Brightline currently operates rail service between Miami and West Palm Beach. The opening of the Orlando extension is scheduled for completion by 2021 with proposed rail service between Orlando and Tampa to follow.
The Tampa end point as well as the route itself from Orlando is still unclear but there are several ideas being floated. One thing is certain, the Brightline investment in the line, the stations, and surrounding areas is impressive.
Brightline developed high-end real estate in the former Overtown area near downtown Miami. Brightline’s MiamiCentral project boasts 1.6 million square feet, two office towers, two apartment towers, plus 130,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, in addition to the train station.
Executives from Brightline expressed the desire to develop the station area in Tampa with a similar plan. They have reviewed sites for a prospective terminus in downtown Tampa, including three that could place Brightline and its development plans within walking distance of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City.