All Aboard Florida & City Finally Ink a Deal
April 23, 2015
(West Palm Beach, FL) – A complex, multi-property deal between All Aboard Florida and the City of West Palm Beach has been reached. The agreement clears the way for the construction of residential All Aboard Florida projects around the downtown station as well as the construction of an access road from Clematis Street to the station.
The agreement has been the topic of intense negotiations for over a year. Chief among the issues has been who would pay for the construction of the road linking Clematis Street to the station.
Other issues have included the need to amend building rules to allow All Aboard Florida to build its residential development next to the station, as well as assurances the station would be designed and landscaped to the city’s satisfaction.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, who refused to agree to earlier proposals saying they were not in the best interest of the city, admitted getting this final agreement “was a struggle,” but that we are “at a place where both the City and All Aboard Florida are comfortable.”
Over the past year, Mayor Muoio had insisted she would not sign any deal that required the city to layout money to pay for the access road.
The agreement includes the road, and does not require the use of any existing tax dollars to get it.
Under the deal, All Aboard Florida is responsible for the estimated $3.8 million dollar price tag for buying two parcels and building the road, sidewalk, lighting and landscaping. Once the road is completed, All Aboard Florida will donate to the city not only the road, but also both of the properties they bought, allowing the city to use the properties for redevelopment plans on Clematis Street.
The city has agreed to provide All Aboard Florida the needed rights to build their residential project (a paper transaction worth $1.3 million dollars but not requiring any existing taxpayer dollars). The city has also agreed to use the newly generated property tax revenue from the project itself to make up the difference (approximately $2.5 million dollars).
It is expected to only take about three years to cover the difference and it also means the project essentially covers the cost itself, without taxpayers footing the bill.
“This is a very good deal for the city,” West Palm Beach City Administrator Jeff Green told members of the City Commission on Thursday.
“All Aboard Florida has been working closely with the Mayor, City Commissioners and staff, and it is through this cooperation we together will transform the community and the city. This is a win-win for the residents, businesses and All Aboard Florida,” said Mike Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida.
The agreement will be up for discussion and a vote before the City Commission on Monday.