Virgin Trains USA has proposed a “ground lease and option agreement” for a Brightline train station, parking garage and mixed-use residential hi-rise next to the library in downtown Boca Raton. The proposed agreement was developed by Virgin Trains USA (VTUSA) and delivered to the City of Boca Raton (City) in October 2019. This article is a high-level overview of that proposed agreement. It can be expected that negotiations are ongoing and the agreement is subject to change. Here are the key highlights of the October 2019 version you need to know.
A map of the proposed Brightline train station complex is below. The map is not a part of the lease agreement, but is included here to help understand the lease. The map was provided by VTUSA.
The 57-page agreement (available here) proposes that the City lease the land to the east of the Downtown Library to VTUSA for $1/year so it can build a passenger train station and parking garage. The objective is to provide a stop for the Brightline train in downtown Boca Raton. Also included in the agreement is the terms of an option to allow VTUSA to purchase City-owned land parcels south and east of the library for $0.00 for the option. VTUSA intends to combine that land with adjacent property it acquires in order to build a mixed-use hi-rise development.
- The initial term of the ground lease is 50 years with the option to extend it four times. Each extension would be for 10 years. all of which totals 90 years.
- Rent for the train station and parking lot land is $1.00 per year for the first five years but the agreement does not say what the rent is beyond that.
- The City is responsible for paying ad valorem real estate taxes for the garage and train station for the entire term of the lease.
- VTUSA is responsible to pay for construction of the train station. The City is responsible to pay VTUSA for construction of the parking garage. The station will be similar to the one in Ft. Lauderdale only smaller.
- There are fees to use the parking garage, but library users will have free parking for a minimum of 55 spaces on the first floor.
- Since the garage and train station will impact the Community Garden, VTUSA agrees to fund the relocation of the garden up to an unspecified amount of money.
- A pedestrian bridge is mentioned in the agreement, but no details are provided.
- VTUSA will have an option to purchase the City-owned land south of the library and south of the garage parcel. The amount specified for the option is $0.00. The purchase price for the land is not specified in the agreement, but will be determined at a later date.
- VTUSA plans to fund and build a Transit Oriented Development on the land that it purchases adjacent to the train station and garage. VTUSA will be responsible for paying real estate taxes on this development.
BocaFirst will continue to review and report on lease agreement details and financial terms.