Bob Roberts wrote: ↑Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:41 pm
According to the Charlotte Metropolitan Transit Commission meeting minutes, Brightline has been in discussions with regional stakeholders about CLT-ATL planning.
CATS CEO LEWIS: The Brightline project which is now the Virgin America project, you may have heard it in several different descriptions, they are continuing to have conversations with both the airport and NCDOT and South Carolina DOT about the potential for the I-85 corridor. I think where it would come into play with the Silver Line is, number one, if that occurs, how would it access the airport to get that as their terminus or how would it access potentially Gateway Station, if that would be the terminus. But, in this regard, we're talking about NCDOT project, but we are keeping our eye on that continued discussion.
https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boar ... 190522.pdf
Pieces continue to fall into place for Brightline on the CLT-ATL corridor. We only have three months to wait to see if Brightline picks them up.
The Request For Qualifications for development of the Charlotte Gateway Station district was released today. The City of Charlotte is looking for a developer to build out roughly 2-4 mid-rise office towers, some residential, retail and the main Gateway Station Building. Tracks, signals, platforms and a canopy are under construction now now using TIGER, state and local funds.
https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/n ... mixed.html
I know it’s a bit early in the Brightline ‘proof of concept’ phase but this certainly represents a perfect opportunity for expanding their rail/real estate business model. The nearly 14 acres of downtown space available for development is a good bit larger than Miami Central and (I believe) more central to the center of downtown.
Proposals are due September 25.
In addition to Brightline / Virgin’s stated interest in CLT-ATL, Brightline could investigate operating in the other direction as well. I don’t know the details of the NCDOT contract with Amtrak for Piedmont operation (and have no sense that NCDOT is unhappy with their Amtrak relationship) but there are similar (but smaller) station-adjacent development opportunities in Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh. While these downtown real estate markets are weaker than Charlotte’s (which is now a city of cranes) and redevelopment in these places would not include the stations themselves, the TOD model would be in place, cities would be interested in facilitating development and there would be no host railroad issues associated with operating Piedmont service.
If you got really carried away you could include the Raleigh-Petersburg S-Line in this equation. If Brightline could access the necessary capital they could run Charlotte to Richmond on tracks almost entirely owned by the NCRR / NCDOT (rather than by a freight RR). Richmond Main Street is also surrounded by parking lots and is in an area of town seeing lots of investment.