Fifteen years coming down the tracks, the West Palm Beach Tri-Rail station project promised bells and whistles that city, county and regional officials said they wanted.
Developer Michael Masanoff’s Transit Village would bring sorely needed offices downtown, hotel rooms and hundreds of residences, some with rents low enough that working class people such as teachers and city workers could afford to live downtown, the developer told city commissioners. The project, which would link Tri-Rail, bus and trolley lines and not only would create 1,300 non-construction jobs but would provide education incentives for employees, hiring priority for local businesses and home ownership help to residents of the abutting Historic Northwest, one of the city’s poorest areas.
But the wrench in the gearbox was how to pay for it all.
Masanoff and the city staff agreed the complex, transit-oriented development would increase the land value, giving the city tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenues for about 25 years.