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Brightline’s Boost to Multifamily Development

CoStar Market Insights: Heavy Construction Pipeline Surrounding High-Speed Rail Stations
July 20, 2018

Construction is well underway on Park Line Towers, the residential portion of Miami's Brightline development. Image credit: Stantec Architecture.

Many expected the Brightline high-speed rail system to boost South Florida’s economy. So far, its biggest impact has been to spur multifamily development in the urban cores.

As of July, there are 6,400 apartment units under construction within a half-mile radius of the three South Florida Brightline stations. There has not yet been a measurable impact on other commercial real estate variables, such as rent growth or sales activity. But, there has been an increase in units under construction.

Fort Lauderdale is leading the way with more than 3,000 units under construction within a half-mile radius of the station. Many of these units are part of the Flagler Village redevelopment, a neighborhood revitalization that is part of the push to make downtown Fort Lauderdale more of a live, work, play environment.

Miami has more than 2,500 units under construction within a half- mile radius of the Brightline station, and Palm Beach has almost 900 units under construction near its station.

It would be easy to assume the Brightline stations are the main impetus for this boost in construction. But to be fair, the majority of apartment development has been occurring in urban cores this cycle.

According to the Urban Land Institute, apartment inventory in urban places grew twice as fast as the inventory in the suburbs between 2010 and 2017. Therefore, this is a national trend and not all of the development can be attributed to the trains.

The trains are also starting to have some impact on office development, but it’s too soon to tell whether they will spur a more substantial increase in office space than in previous cycles.

In Miami, the office buildings Two and Three MiamiCentral includes some of the first office space to deliver in the downtown area since the Great Recession and they are integrated as part of the Brightline station.

Near the Fort Lauderdale station, a 190,000-square-foot office tower has been proposed by Florida East Coast Industries, the parent company of the Brightline train. However, construction will not move forward until a portion of the project has been signed by tenants.

Companies respond positively to the idea of being located in a live, work, play environment because of the convenience it brings to their employees. With much of the "Play" aspect already in place in South Florida, it would appear that the development pipeline has been much more focused on the Live than the Work, at least thus far.

CoStar Market Insights provides a snapshot of recent real estate trends. The CoStar Market Analytics team monitors commercial and multifamily real estate across 390 metro areas, with a granular understanding of the projects, players and economic trends that move these markets.

Learn how CoStar Market Analytics can add to your market knowledge, helping to minimize risk and maximize returns.

Pamela Stergios, market analyst covering the South Florida market.

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