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bobliocatt

A king-size deal

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Ed Duggan

A former jai alai fronton site near West Palm Beach is the proposed site for a $350 million, mixed-use project where condo owners would pay $15 a month to Tri-Rail.

The $23 million, 55-acre Mangonia Park property is under contract from boxing promoter Don King to Boca Raton-based E.B. Developers, with closing scheduled for Nov. 24.

At the initial presentation to the public and the Mangonia Park Town Council on Sept. 21, the 1,300- to 1,600-unit project drew objections from Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie Green and some town residents as being too dense.

The council is expected to have its first vote on the project Oct. 5.

If approved by council, the project is expected to take two years to clear other regulatory approvals and permits for groundbreaking. It will include up to 180,000 square feet of grocery, retail and bank space.

"Condominium owners in the community will each pay a $15 monthly assessment to Tri-Rail by way of their homeowners association dues and, in return, each will get 'employee discount' Tri-Rail fares and be eligible for special home financing rates," E.B. Devel-opers Senior VP John Markey said.

The acronym behind the plan is TAD, which stands for Transit Assessment Development - "a public/private partnership, the very first of what may become a model

for Tri-Rail station development," Markey said.

TAD, which Markey says he came up with, attempts to overcome worries about additional traffic having the Tri-Rail tie-in. That's also the leverage for the higher unit density per acre.

"It's a great idea for Tri-Rail to encourage transit usage with a very cutting-edge plan," Mangonia Park Town Manager Frank Spence said.

Strategic location

The former fronton property has an existing Tri-Rail stop, currently the northern end of the tri-county line, but it could develop into a significant transit hub.

Growth on the existing Tri-Rail track, which bends to the northwest in Mangonia Park, could expand to serve the Pratt & Whitney complex and the proposed biotech village on the Vavrus property. Some political leaders have already started the push.

State Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, sees the project as an opportunity to combine development of the property with an existing transportation backbone.

"It supports the community and should help maintain and upgrade property values," he said. "It also provides an opportunity for young college graduates to return to the area where they grew up and purchase homes at workforce pricing."

The assessment plan is carefully crafted not to turn anyone off the project.

"If residents ride Tri-Rail, they'll save more than the monthly assessment," Markey said. "If they don't ride Tri-Rail, they'll still save because of the special financing savings.

"The Mangonia Park project is the size and type to jump-start revitalization in the Mangonia Park and Riviera Beach communities," he said. "This will be a major factor in revitalizing its water and sewer infrastructure, as well."

Bank financing for the acquisition and design phase will be announced shortly, Markey said.

In order to be properly zoned and accommodate the new project, the Mangonia Park Town Council will need to accept the project, then the existing DRI (development of regional impact) will have to be amended and the town will need to rewrite its building code and comprehensive development plan to accommodate the project.

Markey estimates that it should take less than a year to get the initial approvals if everyone signs on to the plan. West Palm Beach-based Schwab, Twitty & Hanser is the project architect.

"It's a very cutting-edge development, situated around a central lake," said Mike Rossin, principal at Schwab, Twitty & Hanser. "It has a nice balance as a mixed-use residential/retail community."

"It will be our country version of West Palm's CityPlace," Markey said.

Lake as a focal point

Eight 10-story mid-rises will arch around a new seven-acre foot-shaped lake with fountains. The lower three floors of each building are for parking, topped by seven floors of residences.

Three additional 10-story buildings will house ground-floor retail, three floors of parking and six floors of residences. Each building will have its own recreation deck with swimming pool and amenities.

One-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums are expected to initially sell for $125,000 to $300,000, with some upper-floor apartments with Intracoastal, ocean or Lake Mangonia views.

The developer estimates approvals, construction and sellout should be complete in seven years.

There is something for everyone in the TAD project.

The town of Mangonia Park will see its ad valorem real estate taxes jump from $62,700 to $2.4 million a year on the site upon completion. It will also pick up additional revenue from sales, gas, franchise, utility and occupational license taxes.

"We currently collect $1.2 million in total ad valorem real estate taxes and our budget is $4.95 million next year," Spence said.

Three acres for Tri-Rail retail

Tri-Rail gets three acres for associated retail development, a steady $75,000-plus-a-month income stream for operations and improvements, and a major pocket of riders.

Residents get affordable housing within walking distance of the on-site Tri-rail station, plus interest rate concessions on mortgages, and discounted Tri-Rail rates.

E.B. Developers has 13 current residential projects planned or under way - with a sellout of more than $1 billion - in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties and the Orlando area.

It's not just a money game.

"We have our choice of any number of interesting, profitable projects," Markey said. "We are to the point in the life of the company where we want to make a solid difference in the lives of people by developing communities that improve their lives and make their neighborhoods and communities richer. The Mangonia Park project will do all those things.

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very interesting project.

huge though. I"d like to see maybe taller towers and more green space, but either way, the main thing is the transportation assesment. It's just too bad that as of now, tri-rail doesn't really go anywhere.

cities in broward and dade need to get light rail lines in place now to connect their commercial and downtown areas connected to these rail stops.

I'd like to see this get going in Miami, especially as metrorail begins it's expansion.

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I'm glad to see some transit-oriented development. More projects like this will help to ensure Tri-Rail's success. You're right about Tri-Rail not really going anywhere. I hope to see more easy connections in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The MetroRail connection has really helped Tri-Rail, and I hope they expand it? Does anyone have a map of the proposed MetroRail expansion?

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Never mind, I've found it! It doesn't appear to be MetroRail extensions. These are a bunch of different transit corridors, linking up together. I don't think Tri-Rail will be extended towards the south, but the Yellow Line linking MIC to Douglas Road could be Tri-Rail. Does anyone know if there are heavy rail tracks running on this Yellow Line?

railcorridor.gif

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and i'm pretty sure the douglas road extension will be metrorail, ie elevated heavy rail. to my knowledge their are no tracks there now, but I could be wrong about that.

i haven't heard of any plans to extend tri-rail in dade county.

the big one going on right now is the extension of the south dade busway all the way to florida city. i hope that one day it'll be converted to metrorail, but at least their setting aside the space now and setting up bus rapid transit.

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Never mind, I've found it!  It doesn't appear to be MetroRail extensions.  These are a bunch of different transit corridors, linking up together.  I don't think Tri-Rail will be extended towards the south, but the Yellow Line linking MIC to Douglas Road could be Tri-Rail.  Does anyone know if there are heavy rail tracks running on this Yellow Line?

railcorridor.gif

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That map looks like the right one showing the proposed new metrorail lines. The exansion isn't an extension of the existing line, instead it adds several new lines linking neighborhoods where rail transit currently bypasses. The downtown portion will a subway. I can't wait for construction to start.

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I heard that voters rejected a penny tax increase, thus delaying the project. But I think that was a while ago, so maybe they got funding for it. And I'm interested in seeing the underground portion of the project. That'll be the first Subway-type transit in Florida, right?

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we implemented a halfcent sales tax increase for transportation purposes last year.

it was with the idea that a lot of it would get the metrorail extensions going.

some of the money is also going to municipalities allowing them to add their own bus systems and possible light rail (city of miami)

the only thing i've heard about subway is taking the east-west line under downtown and the bay to the cruise port. I think that plan was killed though.

all those routes aren't metrorail. baylink would be light rail. as of now the kendall extensions would be BRT. i'm hoping for heavy rail but we'll see. unfortunately, a lot of these are still 10-15 years away from completion.

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what are the numbers for tri-rail? Is it considered a success? The West Palm station is good since it is relatively close to downtown already, but most of these stations are rather isolated.

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I'm not sure if it's considered a success, but it's definitely something the region is sticking with. They're in the process of double tracking the line to allow for faster and more trips. They're also improving a lot of the stations. Even if it doesn't hit a lot of high density places, I think a lot of transit people are thinking more long term on this one. It'll be a backbone of north/south transit in the future.

from: http://www.tri-rail.com/about/press_releases.htm

Posted July 2004

TRI-RAIL TO ADD TRAINS TO ALLEVIATE CROWDING

Two additional trains will be added to Tri-Rail

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The only threat to Tri-Rail's success will be the FEC tracks. If you don't know, the FEC tracks run through the urban areas, near Dixie/Federal Highway. Tri-Rail takes you from I-95 to I-95, lol. However, it's currently the only convenient way to travel between counties, whcih makes it a success. Ridership is increasing, but I don't know the exact numbers.

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The only threat to Tri-Rail's success will be the FEC tracks.  If you don't know, the FEC tracks run through the urban areas, near Dixie/Federal Highway.  Tri-Rail takes you from I-95 to I-95, lol.  However, it's currently the only convenient way to travel between counties, whcih makes it a success.  Ridership is increasing, but I don't know the exact numbers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Tri-Rail is planning to expand along those FEC tracks, which is a very good idea, imo.

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^It's a great idea, and they should've done that in the first place. But if there is a large shift in ridership on FEC, Tri-Rail's numbers might drop significantly.

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Tri-Rail would operate both lines. I think each line would serve different purposes also. I doubt that many people from the easter sections of the county are taking Tri-rail now.

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