City Council members Yvette Drucker (l-r), Andy Thomson, Monica Mayotte, Andrea O'Rourke, Mayor Scott Singer, Brightline President Patrick Goddard and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch shovel ceremonial dirt on Jan. 25 at the site of the new train station next to the Downtown Library. Photo by City of Boca Raton
By Mary Hladky
As a Brightline train zipped past, Brightline and Boca Raton officials raised ceremonial shovels and tossed dirt on Jan. 25 to break ground on the long-awaited Boca Raton train station.
The start of station construction comes one month after the upscale rail company began work on a 4.5 story, 455-space parking garage. The station and garage are expected to be completed this fall.
Brightline President Patrick Goddard was joined at the ceremony by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, (D-Boca Raton), Discover the Palm Beaches CEO Jorge Pesquera, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer and the City Council’s four other members, as well as representatives of companies building the station.
“As a premier business and leisure destination, Boca Raton is a perfect fit for Brightline and will be an integral part of our network that will further connect the state of Florida,” Goddard said.
“Brightline will be a game-changer for Boca Raton, and especially our downtown,” Singer said.
Construction is starting about one year later than initially anticipated in part because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced Brightline to halt passenger service in March 2020. Service resumed in November.
At 38,000 square feet, the Boca station will be smaller than Brightline’s stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, which are about 60,000 square feet. A bar and restaurant will be available to premium passengers. A market with items such as beer, wine and snacks will be open to all passengers.
Brightline will pay $20 million of the station cost, and the city will spend $9.9 million on the garage. The project cost was partly defrayed by a $16.3 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant.