Construction of Brightline’s Massive Downtown Miami Station Thundering Ahead




The massive train station called MiamiCenral that will be the Downtown Miami terminus of the Florida East Coast Railway’s Brightline (formerly known as All Aboard Florida) is taking shape on a long strand of city blocks stretching north from the Dade County Courthouse.

Lately there has been some controversy over what is being called the Great Wall of Overtown, which more specifically is a solid ramp that will raise the railroad tracks up to the level of the station’s elevated platforms. Although it doesn’t block any existing roadways, the ramp has however proven to be somewhat of a physical and visual barrier between the historically black neighborhood of Overtown to the west and the soon-to-be redeveloped Park West district to the east.

The FEC is also developing a mixed-use block of land, considered to be a part of the MiamiCentral station development within Overtown, that will contain a Publix grocery store, parking, and other amenities, but that is located to the south of the wall. Many Overtown residents, who have historically been the victims of massive transportation projects throughout Miami’s history, are understandably not happy. For one thing, I-95 was a big ‘fuck you’ to the neighborhood when it was built in the decades following WWII. However, Overtown has always been ‘over the tracks,’ but now it just might be ‘over the wall’ too.

South of the wall, construction is looking much more beautiful, and much less controversial. Designed by national firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and local firm Zyscovich, the combination Brightline and Tri-Rail station and its associated development will be nothing if not grand, with skyscrapers sprouting above a long concourse and shopping development, itself elevated above ground and offering spectacular views of Miami’s skyline. Elevated Metromover and Metrorail lines will wind through the structure while ground level pedestrian and automotive traffic will circulate underneath. The whole thing will be a hive of movement and activity.

Photos by Sean McCaughan.

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