Construction of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline train station in downtown West Palm Beach reached a new milestone on Friday when company officials hoisted a bright yellow flag on top of the building to mark the completion of vertical construction at the site.
Palm Beach County and West Palm Beach officails, tourism leaders and construction workers were among the roughly 100 people who attended a “topping out” ceremony at the station site on Friday — an event that signifies the project has reached its top elevation and the “skeleton” of the building is complete.
Construction crews in Nov. 2014 began demolition work at the site located just north of CityPlace between Datura and Evernia streets west of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. The first of 18 large concrete pillars, which serve as the station’s architectural signature, was hoisted into place in March.
On Friday, crews had begun exterior finishing work on the building. Escalators that will carry passengers to the station’s waiting areas perched above the train tracks rested near the building, wrapped in plastic and ready to be installed.
“It was about two years ago that we were standing very nearby here with a bulldozer to take down a building that was standing at this site in order to really mark the beginning of the journey that we are coming to the end of,” Brightline’s president Michael Reininger told the crowd gathered at Friday’s ceremony. “If you think about that, in just a short two year time we went from that, to what is soon to become a glorious new station right here in the hub of downtown.”
Over the next six months, Reininger said the company plans to hire 133 employees to operate the station, work with customers, and help with the company’s fleet of trains.