Westshore transit center closer to becoming a reality
A transportation hub for rail and buses near the West Shore area is one step closer to becoming a reality now that the Florida Department of Transportation has purchased the land.
FDOT announced Tuesday that it closed on the Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Airport and Charley's Steakhouse property. The agency bought the land for $45 million.
FDOT has been pining for the property for several years, but was forced to back off in early 2014 when the landowner, GE Capital, suddenly doubled the price. But GE sold that parcel to the Blackstone Group several months ago. Property deed records show a sale went through in August for nearly $37 million.
"An Intermodal center will be the lynchpin for a seamless transit network in, around and through the Westshore Business District," District Seven Secretary Paul Steinman said in a statement.
The center, once constructed, will be used as a hub for transit to Tampa International Airport, a depot for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority buses and as a station if a light rail or bus rapid transit (BRT) system were to connect Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in the future.
However, it’s unclear when construction of the center would actually begin. A press release for the announcement kept the language vague: “The timeframe for building the intermodal center will be based on future connectivity needs of transit systems in the Tampa Bay region and the Westshore Business District, future population and employment growth, and travel demand.”