New Treasure Coast Brightline Station Coming to Stuart

The Treasure Coast has been on pins and needles waiting to hear Brightline’s decision about where their new expansion station will be located. Brightline is the premier intercity rail service in the entire state of Florida, and area residents plus those with an eye to visit have been eagerly awaiting the choice of location for the new station.

After an incredibly competitive proposal stage and a thorough evaluation process that spanned the Treasure Coast, Stuart has been selected as the newest location on the Brightline map. Located in the heart of Martin County, Stuart is a highly strategic location choice that is more than just the sum of a logistical equation by bean counters at Brightline.

brightline stuart station

Brightline train over the St. Lucie River. (Source: Brian Mast)

It’s an active choice to create a Brightline station in Stuart that could bring about active growth, increased connectivity, and substantial cultural enrichment. We’re going to take a look at some of the background of this project, and how we got to this stage, and discuss what kind of changes this is expected to bring.

We’ll cover why the location was seen as a strategic choice, and go over some of the various benefits that the station is expected to bring to the region. Finally, we’ll talk about the details and what we know so far about the plans for infrastructure and more surrounding the station. Before we wrap up, we’ll take a broader look at why Brightline is so crucial to our regional connectivity, and how this change is going to update the regional and state transportation landscape.

The Journey to the Decision

The journey to Stuart finally being selected as the next Brightline site on the Treasure Coast has been characterized by an intricate and extremely competitive process. This is indicative of the high stakes of the project and its potential for transformation.

Anticipation for this decision has been building since the expansion was initially announced by Brightline, with other locations in Fort Pierce also in contention. Communities across Martin and St. Lucie Counties all presented proposals of varying incentive and potential, each outlining the entire vision for the construction and funding of the station, and each hoping to be the one chosen by the transportation giant.

Stuart Station’s Strategic Location

The final choice of which proposal to accept and where to ultimately place the new Brightline station was not a decision made lightly. The strategic location of Stuart is a testament to just how much thought and planning was put into the proposal the city submitted.

Stuart represents a significant addition to the Treasure Coast transportation network. One of the big selling points of Stuart’s proposal was to centrally locate the station in a prime downtown location. The station will be located close to the Martin County Courthouse, at 500 SE Flagler Ave.

This area in Downtown Stuart is currently a parking lot, and it offers a unique blend of both scenic beauty and aesthetic potential, as well as practicality, making it the ideal spot for the station. The physical site is 2.35 acres and is spacious enough to accommodate an 8,750 square-foot building, a parking structure with up to 450 spaces, 10 spaces devoted to rideshare drivers picking up or dropping off, and more than 90 on-street parking spots. This comprehensive approach ensures there are resources available that cater to a wide range of transportation needs, from the daily commuter to the seasonal or annual visitors, and will see seamless integration with the regional and national transit networks.

Brightline’s final choice of Stuart helps reinforce Stuart’s role as a gateway to the Treasure Coast. The promise of enhanced accessibility to the region’s attractions, from the beaches to each unique, bustling downtown area means more growth and prosperity for the region in general.

brightline treasure coast

Economic and Developmental Impacts

The establishment of a new Brightline station in Stuart is set to bring substantial developmental and economic impacts to the Treasure Coast. It’s expected to act as a powerful catalyst for economic revitalization, including job creation and enhanced tourism.

The total cost for the Stuart Brightline station is projected to be around $60 million, which is an honest reflection of the ambitious scope of the project. The proposal included a collaborative funding model, where the city, county, and Brightline all share in the cost of construction. Most notably, the city and county are contributing a combined $45 million, and with additional state and federal grants, this burden is expected to shrink to less than $10 million.

Job Creation & Business Growth

Additionally, not only will the construction of the facility create significant amounts of jobs, but there will also be permanent jobs established with the ongoing operation of the station. This employment influx is anticipated to have an ancillary effect on local economies, bringing more revenue to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Stuart and surrounding areas.

Connectivity, Tourism, and Development

The Stuart station is going to significantly enhance regional connectivity, which opens up the accessibility of the Treasure Coast to visitors from Miami, Orlando, and beyond. Greater accessibility means more tourism, which means more dollars coming into local attractions, culture, and conservation. The increased traffic typically means higher demand for other services as well, such as hospitality and retail.

Stuart has plenty of space to grow, and its urban development has significant potential. The increase in employment and residency means increasing property values is a possibility, and the area around the station would most likely see a rise in mixed-use developments.

Brightline Update Martin County

Station Design and Features

With the recent announcement that Stuart’s proposal won, there’s been a wave of excitement around getting more details of the station itself and what it will be like.

  • Architectural Vision: The architectural design of the station will try to find a balance between modernity and the coastal aesthetic that defines Stuart. With more than two acres the site will host a station building that approaches 9,000 square feet, whose architecture pays homage to local culture and history.
  • Comprehensive Facilities: In addition to the main building, there will be additional facilities to fill the needs of residents and visitors alike. A parking structure with short and long-term parking options is planned, the area will have 10 spots for rideshare drivers, and almost one hundred spots of on-street parking.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: The design of the station itself is created with accessibility in mind. Pathways, signage, and facilities will be designed according to the highest standards of accessibility, ensuring a smooth and comfortable experience for travelers of all ability levels.
  • Community Spaces: It won’t be all travel all the time at the Brightline Stuart station, and in a commitment to community engagement, the station will include public spaces that promote community interaction, connect, and events.

Timeline and Future Steps

While the decision was just handed down recently, the construction of the station will not begin immediately, and the timeline for project completion must be managed wisely, due to the sheer ambition of the project. Brightline has committed to a timeline, however, take a look.

Construction Commencement

Following the formal announcement and the completion of all necessary preparatory work, construction on the new station is tentatively scheduled for 2026. This leaves plenty of time for additional planning and design finalization, as well as getting all needed permits, approvals, and clearances for the actual construction.

brightline stuart construction

Projected Opening

The timeline currently allows for about 2 years of construction, with the opening projected to be in 2028. This timeline also aligns with Brightline’s broader expansion plans to boost connectivity statewide and reflects the complexity of the station itself.

Next Steps

Leading up to the start of construction, there are a few important steps that need to be completed before the project can continue. These include design finalizations, community engagements, and gathering input on potential concerns.

Long-Term Vision

Beyond the immediate goal of the construction, and subsequently the opening of the Stuart Station, Brightline and local stakeholders are also looking at the long-term benefits and possibilities the station could open up along the Treasure Coast. Economic development, tourism boosts, and quality of life improvements for residents, to name just a few.

Wrapping Up

The announcement of a new Brightline station in Stuart is a significant milestone in the Treasure Coast’s path to regional development and connectivity. This station is going to be much more than a stop on a map, it’s the distilled potential of boundless future growth and development.

Justin Stewart

Justin Stewart

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