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Central Florida's SunRail Commuter Rail System Expands

July 26, 2018

SunRail's latest extension is expected to increase ridership levels and spur economic development in Osceola County.

Starting on July 30th, Orlando's SunRail commuter rail system officially began passenger service into Osceola County. Previously spanning 32 miles between Volusia and Orange counties with 12 stations, the rail line's extension adds an additional 17.2 miles and four more stations between south Orange County and Poinciana. Furthermore, the number of daily round-trips has increase from 18 to 20.

Originally intended to include an northern extension to DeLand, SunRail's phase two expansion only extends the commuter rail line south to Poinciana. Courtesy of SunRail.
 
Development projects are already springing up around the $186.9 million rail corridor's new stations. In south Orange County, Atlantic Housing Partners LLLP is in the process of building a 234-unit, affordable housing complex called Landstar Apartment Homes near the new Meadow Woods Station. Projects underway at Tupperware Station include the $32 million Orlando Health Emergency Room & Medical Pavilion-Osceola, a 120-room assisted living facility, a 350-unit market-rate apartment complex, and a 128-room Hampton Inn Hotel. In addition, Tupperware's Deerfield Land Corporation has earmarked 150 acres that can accommodate as much as 2.5 million square feet of office space, two 250-room hotels, 200,000 square feet of commercial space, and 1,000 apartments.


A conceptual plan for future development around Tupperware Station.
 
In Downtown Kissimmee, the commuter rail system's station is adjacent to a Lynx Intermodal Station. Expected to attract the most riders on the new segment, proposed projects nearby include a $65 million mixed-use development featuring 570 apartments, 13 townhouses, a 120-room hotel, and 15,000 square feet of retail by St. Petersburg-based Mosaic Development. Winter Park-based Group One LLC. is also building a $41 million, 250-unit market rate apartment complex within walking distance of the station. Meanwhile in Poinciana, a community of 62,000 characterized by some of the worst commutes in the state, Scottsdale, a new community called Solstice is being built by AZ-based AV Homes to be located adjacent to the Poinciana SunRail station. When complete the development will add 116 townhouses and 211 single-family homes within walking distance of the new rail service.


Mosaic's Toho Square development in Downtown Kissimmee. Courtesy of Mosaic Development.
 
Future plans for SunRail, which was initially launched in May 2014, include an estimated $250 million link to Orlando International Airport, tying the system in with Florida's privately funded Brightline intercity passenger rail system. One-way tickets on SunRail are $2, with $1 additional for every county line crossed. Click here for more information.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP

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