West Palm Beach, FL – In a ceremony today, Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla A. Taylor, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, and All Aboard Florida executives debuted designs for All Aboard Florida’s new West Palm Beach station, planned and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) in association with Zyscovich Architects. Today’s event marks the third and final unveiling of designs for All Aboard Florida’s first phase of passenger stations. In addition to the West Palm Beach station, SOM is also planning and designing the rail network’s Miami Central Terminal and Fort Lauderdale station.
All Aboard Florida is the only privately owned, operated, and financed project of its kind being developed in the United States today. The 235-mile rail network will connect South Florida to Central Florida by operating on the existing Florida East Coast (FEC) corridor and creating new tracks to Orlando. The unprecedented infrastructure project will provide a vital new service for Florida residents, business people, and visitors and eliminate more than three million car trips from the region’s roadways each year. Passenger service between Miami and West Palm Beach is anticipated to begin in late 2016.
The ambitious project has been widely celebrated in the media and within the design community. The Atlantic’s CityLab spotlighted All Aboard Florida in a feature titled “The Triumphant Return of Private U.S. Passenger Rail,” while Gizmodo included the project in a roundup of rail stations “bringing the drama and glamour back to train travel.” The Wall Street Journal has said the undertaking could be “among the nation’s boldest examples” of transit-oriented development.
“We are excited at what our vision of the future holds for West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County,” says P. Michael Reininger, President and Chief Development Officer of All Aboard Florida. “Passenger rail has been integral to the history of Florida, and we have arrived at a point in time where it will once again take on a transformational role – creating connectivity, representing a unique collaboration between the private and public sectors, and stimulating job creation and economic impacts. We have been working closely with the city staff to develop a station and overall master plan that makes the downtown area even more dynamic.”
The West Palm Beach station will be located on a 2.5 acre site in the heart of the city’s downtown. Great care has been taken to link the new facility into the neighborhood’s existing vehicular, trolley, and pedestrian networks and establish links to the Tri-Rail and Amtrak West Palm Beach Station, located to the west. These efforts will dramatically improve connectivity between bustling Clematis Street to the north and the city’s CityPlace shopping district to the south. Prominently sited at a nexus of urban activity, the station will serve as a landmark for the community and an infrastructural catalyst for continued reinvestment in the neighborhood.
“This project is an exceptional opportunity to contribute to the vibrancy of downtown West Palm Beach,” states Roger Duffy, Design Partner at SOM. “Our design creates a new gateway for the city—one that is both seamlessly woven into the urban fabric and reflective of All Aboard Florida’s transformative vision.”
Viewed from a distance, the 60,000-square-foot station building will be emblematic of the All Aboard Florida system. Composed of stacked concrete and glass volumes supported by concrete V-braces, the elevated passenger concourse will echo the materiality and overall geometry of both the Miami and Fort Lauderdale facilities, allowing passengers to immediately recognize the structure as part of the All Aboard Florida brand. The building will enjoy a lush setting, landscaped with native Floridian plants.
Arriving passengers will approach the station at grade level from the west. The structure will be sheathed in a striking glass façade. Once inside, travelers will purchase tickets on the ground floor and proceed to escalators that will rise to an elevated departure lounge, suspended 30 feet above the train platform. Abundant use of glass throughout these spaces will animate the building with daylight, assisting in wayfinding and providing a constant visual connection to the surrounding city and landscape. From the elevated lounge, waiting passengers will have views up and down the tracks and out to Quadrille Boulevard.
The West Palm Beach station unveiling follows the release of designs for All Aboard Florida’s Miami Central and Fort Lauderdale stations, debuted in May and July, respectively. A common material palette, design aesthetic, and planning strategy unite the three facilities. Envisioned not only as gateways to their respective cities, but also as iconic destinations in their own right, the three stations are positioned to become centers of gravity for significant urban redevelopment. Economists estimate that All Aboard Florida will pump more than $6 billion into the Florida economy over the next eight years. Zyscovich Architects is serving as the Associate Architect and Planner for all three stations.
About All Aboard Florida
All Aboard Florida is an intercity passenger rail project being developed by Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI) — owner of Florida’s premier passenger rail corridor — that will connect Miami to Orlando with intermediate stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. This rail service will give Floridians and visitors a viable transportation alternative to congested highways and airport terminals. All Aboard Florida will provide a high‐quality experience for passengers and will be the first privately owned, operated, and maintained passenger rail system in the United States. For more information, visit www.AllAboardFlorida.com.
About Florida East Coast Industries
Florida East Coast Industries, LLC (FECI) is one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service commercial real estate, transportation, and infrastructure companies. Headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla., FECI has a rich history dating back over a century. Mr. Henry Flagler first established a predecessor company in 1892, which became a pioneer in the development of Florida's eastern coast. Today, FECI continues to transform Florida as the parent company to four distinct business lines including Flagler, a full-service commercial real estate company; All Aboard Florida, the United States’ first privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail system; Flagler Global Logistics, an integrated logistics company that offers a wide range of logistics services and real estate solutions; and Parallel Infrastructure, a leader in third-party Right of Way (ROW) investments and management services. FECI is owned by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, LLC. For more information, visit www.feci.com.
About Zyscovich Architects
Zyscovich Architects (Zyscovich) is an international master planning, architecture, and interior design firm with offices in Miami, Orlando, New York City and Bogotá. The firm's innovative approach to planning, Real Urbanism®, embraces the history and economics of a community to create a unique vision that brings tangible value and improved quality of life to the area. The firm's commitment to customized solutions is also evident in its award-winning architectural design work for both public and private clients. Zyscovich's broad range of experience includes large-scale mixed-use, transportation, educational, commercial, retail, and multi-family residential, and hospitality projects.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban‐planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.