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First look at Brightline’s lease for Boca train station, garage

Council had the first look at the proposed lease for Brightline/Virgin Trains’ Boca station and garage Tuesday. But possible changes like moving the garage 25 feet further south got other mixed reviews.

The lease is for city owned property at 400 NW Second Avenue downtown on the west side of the railroad tracks on Dixie Highway.

Deputy city manager George S. Brown said they’re still discussing some issues, like splitting garage revenues. The company agreed to postpone the final public hearing until Dec. 10.

Here’s the proposed terms.

·    Initial term: 29-year lease, initial renewal 20 years, two mutual consent renewals. Total term 89 years

·    Rent: $1 year plus any other amounts due

·    Improvements revert to city at termination

·    Lease area 1.8 acres includes Downtown Library property and a tract of Library Commons [adjacent residential neighborhood]

·    Costs for garage, $13,966,844 total; 86.3 percent city; 13.7 percent Virgin. Proposed city cost $12,056.849 [still under discussion]

·    Train station: Virgin pays 100 percent. Uses for train station: passenger service, platform, lounges, food, beverage including alcohol.

·    Timeline: Start date no later than Dec. 31, 2021. Completion no later than Dec. 31, 2023

·    The so-called TOD is off the table. But included in the term of the lease is right of first refusal for library land south of proposed garage. Also, city lots between Northwest Third and Fourth streets.

But all that didn’t assuage nearby Library Commons’ residents, still wary of the proximity and the future of the TOD as a possible hi-rise or hotel site.

“We’re not opposed to the a Brightline station but it was a shock about moving the garage. Now we’re not sure,” said Friends of the Library president Cyndi Bloom. “What does it mean for library parking.”

The community garden by mutual consent of the Junior League of Boca Raton will move to a city site south of Meadows park. Virgin set aside $300,000.

Introduction of the ordinance for the lease is on the regular meeting for city council 6 p.m. Wednesday in city hall. A introduction does not include comment.

By Marci Shatzman

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