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Brightline buys land for high-speed rail terminal

Updated July 7, 2021 - 9:37 am

Brightline West has purchased a 110-acre parcel of land on Las Vegas Boulevard South to be home to the Southern Nevada terminal station for the planned high-speed rail line to Southern California, the company announced Tuesday.

The parcel acquired by Brightline Holdings is on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs Road and Windmill Lane, across from the Premium Outlets South mall and will offer quick access to the Strip, McCarran International Airport and Allegiant Stadium.

Brightline did not disclose the purchase price, but Clark County records indicate that the land sold for $140 million and that the transaction closed Thursday.

“We have continued our pioneering efforts throughout a period of unprecedented change to advance the development of Brightline West, and we now have secured our new home,” Michael Reininger, chief executive officer of Brightline Holdings, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement represents another important milestone for the project and is tangible evidence of our commitment and progress. The location and quality of the site matches our aspirations for what will be the showcase for new high-speed rail in the country.”

Plans call for a 65,000-square-foot terminal with ample parking and connections to ground transportation options for customers to use for the long-talked-about Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail project.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft called the announcement “a significant step forward on our path to securing high-speed rail to Southern California.”

“It is a demonstration of Brightline’s commitment to the project and investment in our community,” Naft said. “And it could not come soon enough, as was evident over the July 4 weekend. The road to California is simply insufficient to meet the needs of our booming travel economy.”

Company projections call for 11 million passengers to travel between Las Vegas and Southern California per year once the project is completed.

Brightline operates a high-speed rail line in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Construction on a expansion to Orlando is underway and set for completion in late 2022.

Brightline was set to break ground on the project in 2020, but the company pulled a bond offering late last year, citing market instability amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bond offering consisted of marketing $800 million in private activity bonds acquired in Nevada and California, aiming at raising $3.2 billion toward the construction of the rail line. After the bond offer was scrapped, the private activity bonds were reallocated toward affordable housing projects.

Last month Brightline announced it would hold off on again requesting the private activity bonds from the two states, again citing pandemic-related issues.

Brightline West will use zero-emission trains to connect the Las Vegas station and Los Angeles through multiple intercity projects that include planned stops in Victorville, California, where riders can connect to Rancho Cucamonga or Palmdale and transfer to the California Metrolink to travel into the Los Angeles area.

“The site affords us the size and optimum characteristics to fully execute our vision that will be anchored by the most convenient connection between two of the most significant markets in the West,” Sarah Watterson, president and chief development officer of Brightline West, said in Tuesday’s statement. “Building upon our experiences in major Florida cities, we will now bring creativity, innovation and environmental focus to this new gateway for Las Vegas.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Staff writer Eli Segall contributed to this report.

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