Construction on the 24-story residential tower rising next to Brightline’s station in downtown West Palm Beach has reached its top elevation, marking a new milestone for the project, which is slated to open next year and is designed to appeal to commuters looking for easy access to the company’s soon-to-launch passenger trains.
Brightline’s parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, on Thursday celebrated the “topping out” of the Park-Line apartment tower, a ceremonial event to commemorate the end of its vertical construction.
The 290-unit building is located just west of the Brightline station, and within walking distance of both Clematis Street and CityPlace. Its proximity to the train tracks also gives tenants a direct link to Brightline’s trains, which are expected to begin service between West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami in the coming months.
“We are pleased to reach another important milestone in the development of Park-Line Palm Beaches and welcome our first residents next year,” Daniel Quintana, vice president of development for Florida East Coast Industries, said in a prepared statement released by the company. “West Palm Beach is a dynamic city, and we look forward to building on the positive impact our unique residence contributes to the community.”
South Florida commuters have become a key demographic for the rail project. Brightline plans to link Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, offering an alternative to millions of tourists who make the trip by car.
But construction on the line between West Palm Beach and Orlando has yet to begin, and officials have said it will be at least 2020 before the company’s trains start running between south and the Orlando Airport in central Florida. The delay means commuters and others — particularly those living and working in its buildings — looking to transit between West Palm Beach and Miami will be the line’s primary customers.
The Park-Line building will feature floor-to-ceiling windows in every unit and a host of amenities, including a full-service poolside lounge; open-air cross training course; yoga lawn and fitness center with juice bar; private cabanas with outdoor grills and intimate seating areas; shaded dog parks and pet grooming salon; and an event lawn with a movie screen.
Rental rates have not been announced, but officials said the West Palm Beach tower will include studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The building is expected to open in fall of 2018, Florida East Coast Industries said Thursday.
The tower will also include a parking garage that will be used by Brightline travelers. Roughly 250 workers with the construction firm Moss have been working on the building. Construction began last year.
Meanwhile, construction work on Brightline’s West Palm Beach station is complete. Although government officials have signed off on the use of the stations work, continues on rail signals and crossings along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
Before service can begin, Brightline must complete a series of safety upgrades along the FEC corridor, including the installation of a new signal system that communicates with approaching trains, triggers gate openings and closings, and regulates train-crossing times.
In addition to those features, the Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization has pledged more than $6 million for a number of other safety improvements that are required before a “quiet zone” to silence train horns can be established along the FEC tracks. The quiet zone, which is expected to be completed around the time Brightline starts service, will silence the horns of both passenger and fright trains.