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About jliv

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  1. jliv

    The Brightline

    I went down to West Palm Beach in April just so I could ride the Brightline train to Ft. Lauderdale. It really was the best experience I've ever had on a train, and I'm a regular rider of Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn ICE trains, French TGV trains, etc. In fact, it was much better than the typical Virgin Train experience from London to Manchester! Perhaps it was the "new car smell" aspect of it all, but the fact that every aspect of the experience is run by a private enterprise makes a world of difference.
  2. jliv

    The Brightline

    I've always had a weird train fetish, in terms of going out of my way to ride trains when there is no benefit, and I think that is rooted in growing up in Orlando and the excitement of riding the monorail when I was a kid. It's probably grown into an interest and bias towards mass transit, even through being a regular user of trains these days has dulled their luster for me somewhat. However, if Virgin/Brightline can turn the travel experience into the tourist corridors into an attraction of its own, it can be both profitable and serve a public good.
  3. jliv

    Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium [Renovation Completed]

    That's a relief. Orlando is spared yet another fly-by-night sports league...
  4. jliv

    The Brightline

    Both of the proposed approaches to I-4 along the Osceola/Orange border cross over to the Disney side of I-4, where they run for a stretch before crossing back onto the i-4 median heading south to Tampa. That stretch is long enough to accommodate a station, and I'm sure it was added as a bargaining chip with all of the parties involved.
  5. jliv

    The Brightline

    A link to the Brightline proposal submitted to the FL DOT: http://www.fdot.gov/procurement/pdf/Brightline Trains FDOT Proposal Tampa to Orlando FINAL 11-5-18.pdf A couple of interesting things to note: 1. The route they are proposing does not even consider an SR-528 alignment. Most of the route through the Orlando area follows the SR-417 median south from the airport. 2. They won't need to acquire a lot of private land, as most of the right-of-ways are owned by FL DOT or CFX. 3. There's only two proposed approaches to I-4 from SR-417 at Disney: an alignment along the Osceola Parkway north of Gaylord Palms, and one right through the Xentury City development north of that. A Xentury City station has major transit-oriented development potential; you're basically dropping millions of tourists off at at the doorstep of Disney, at a station surrounded by acreage primed for development. This could be Orlando's version of MiamiCentral, at a much bigger scale. If that's the case, let's hope it's something great. 4. The timescale is pretty aggressive. They want to start construction on Section 1 (MCO to 1-4) by June of next year. We know the story about their timelines, but the airport-to-Disney segment has been the prize jewel for decades. Of course, there's that funding issue...
  6. jliv

    The Brightline

    Everything I’ve read indicates this is a “rent-a-tycoon” deal. The undisclosed minority stake the Virgin Group is taking is the Branson/Trump model of licensing a brand attached to a highly-visible entrepreneur. I doubt Branson and his company will be heavily involved. Probably done to help with selling to the derivative markets to generate the massive capital needed to fund all of the projects they have on their plate. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. jliv

    Union West at CV| Creative Village | 15 Stories

    Trampa? Is that the sister city to Whorelando? [emoji23][emoji23] Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. jliv

    Amazon HQ #2 To Orlando?

    Not to get all excited about every rich industrialist who passes through Florida on holiday, but this was an interesting sighting on Saturday: https://www.thenextmiami.com/jeff-bezos-parties-in-miami-over-labor-day-weekend-ahead-of-hq2-decision/. In my fantasy world, Jeff is knocking around his old stomping grounds in Miami, getting ready for the biggest economic development announcement for Florida since Walt Disney World, and...ah no, the smoky haze lifts from my pipe dream as the announcement is made from Northern Virginia.
  9. jliv

    Lake Nona - Medical City

    I always laugh when cities tout the number of jobs these fulfillment centers create, because I'm thinking of an Amazon fulfillment center as 10 Wal-Marts melded together, WITH ROBOTS INSIDE. A fulfillment center is not a value creator or an export generator; it is a logistics center there to mostly serve Central Florida customers. Lake Nona lost Sanford Burnham and got THIS instead. Grumble.
  10. jliv

    The Brightline

    Some good points here. My understanding of FEC's strategic objective with AAF/Brightline was to create new value with some of its real estate assets, using rail as part of the proposition. The problem is, it's not doing much in Orlando on that front, as the asset there isn't theirs, but...drum-roll...a taxpayer-funded "intermodal transit center" that sites empty, much like Gov. Scott's list of ethics. Of course, the prospective bond buyers are obviously reacting the same way as you and I, and giving the value proposition the "stinky side-eye". The Brightline trains are nice, though. I rode them in April, and found the service to be a step up from the services I use every day here in the UK (and across Europe). I'd like to see something like it to succeed, but I don't think you can do it without significant government support, or clever investments in the land assets around the train stations.
  11. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    It looks like Finfrock is the proposed "design-build" contractor for the building. Lots of modular pre-fab built off-site, which is reflected in their designs.
  12. jliv

    Amazon HQ #2 To Orlando?

    As I called it on this very board last year...;)
  13. jliv

    Comparing Orlando...

    One thing that isn’t mentioned when we talk about Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte: all three are beneficiaries of aggressive recruitment by state agencies with tax incentives, bolstered by a state income tax. It’s why all those Marvel/Disney films are shot in Fayette County, GA now, why Charlotte can attract back-office financial services support ops, and Nashville has attracted high-profile corporate HQs. It’s pretty frustrating, because Orlando (the city and the MSA) was quite a buzzy, exciting place in the 1990’s. Perhaps I was seeing it through the lenses of someone in their early 20’s, but I have fond memories of clubbing at Club Firestone, having a cappuccino at YabYum, or celebrating with Irish footie fans during the World Cup matches. I also remember watching it lose that buzz through the 2000’s. ‘Buzz’ is an intangible, and sometimes fuelled by unsustainable hype, but it does matter. What happened? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    The architecture is not daring because the clients are not daring. There are some "starchitect" buildings in the greater Orlando area, but mostly on Disney property. The buildings downtown were built for local banks, law firms, and government agencies; the architecture is a reflection of the amount of ambition of the Orlando business community. But aren't we talking about a Hampton Inn here? I don't think mid-price Hilton brands scream for edgy designs, anywhere...
  15. jliv

    The Brightline

    I cringe whenever I see a Wendell Cox "assessment", as he runs a right-wing think tank, and always has a strong bias against the public benefits of public transportation and urban planning. Those are two things that are hard to quantify in spreadsheet analyses, as many of the benefits are intangible. However, that's why we have public policy. No one ran this kind of analysis when we invaded Iraq: there was no quantifiable financial benefit to taxpayers to spend the trillions that we did, but it was supposed to provide intangible benefits such as "national security". Politicians should be considering these intangibles in their own analyses of the benefits for the "public good", much like they should with sports stadiums. One could easily argue that the public good of a $2 billion HSR train system benefits a lot more people economically than two $1 billion football stadiums, frankly. It's funny how Florida politicians, up until the Marlins Stadium fiasco, gave less resistance to specious arguments for sports investment than public mobility over the years. It comes down to values, and some people have very different values than others.