Archives for September 2010

Hi Speed Rail Line Work Begins

Engineers have begun testing the soil along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando to prepare the ground for the high speed tracks in 2012. Workers are also surveying, doing real estate estimates, appraisals and property searches. The state owns 93% of the land needed, the other 7% will need to be acquired through willing sellers or eminent domain. Most of the land is located along the I-4 corridor.

Florida is slated to receive $1.25 billion in stimulus funds for the project and additional federal funds were promised in the future. Construction of the project will add 5,000 jobs each year, with 11,000 jobs at the height of construction. A future link between Orlando and Miami is in the planning stages.

When complete in 2015, it will become the first true high speed rail line in the country that runs on its own dedicated tracks. It will take less than 1 hour to ride between Tampa and Orlando. An estimated 2 million passengers will ride each year. There are 5 planned stops: Downtown at the Old Morgan St. jail, Polk County, Walt Disney World (Disney donated the land for the stop), the Orlando Convention Center and the Orlando International airport. There are no plans for a stop at Tampa International Airport, because it is already part of the proposed light rail plan.

Clearwater Beach Knights Inn To Become Boutique Hotel

The vacant Knight’s Inn on South Gulfview Blvd in Clearwater Beach will be replaced with an all suite hotel in 2011. The name of the hotel has not yet been determined. Construction is expected to begin in early 2011 and completed by year end. There will be 45 units approximately 600 square foot each.
The property was purchased in 2009 for $3.8 million, and renovations are estimated at $2 million. A construction loan has been secured by Southwind Hospitality, owner of the Quality Inn Beach Resort located across the street. Guests of the new hotel will have access to the Quality Inn pool and beach access, and guest of the Quality Inn will have access to the new hotel’s fitness center.