Meeting sponsored by BurgerFi and Warren Henry Auto Group
Yes…we’ve had Super Bowl here with all the excitement, especially with winning team, the Kansas City Chiefs staying at the JW Marriott Turnberry. But there’s also a great deal of excitement about the new Aventura Brightline station coming our way by the end of this year.
At a recent Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Newport Beachside Hotel, Ali Soule, Chief of Staff of Brightline, was the keynote speaker. Marcia Lowther, Senior Vice President of Sales, was there as well to meet the members. Sponsors of the meeting were Gino Gargiulo, owner of the Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and Dania Beach Burger Fi restaurants and Warren Henry, CEO of Warren Henry Auto Group.
AMC Chairman Gary Pyott welcomed hundreds of members and thanked Young Star Cameron Wheeler and master pianist Moises Herrera for providing superb musical entertainment during the opening networking session.
Robert Manrique, Corporate Business Development Director for Warren Henry Auto Group announced their move to a premium 800,000 sq.ft. location in North Miami. “It is truly an amazing facility, with the most charging stations in the nation. We sell and service Land Rovers, Jaguar and Infiniti. We invite you stop by, enjoy a cup of coffee, take a tour and hopefully we can earn your business.”
Gino Gargiulo, owner of three BurgerFi restaurants took the podium to say that he is also a proud customer of Warren Henry Auto for years…”and they do a great job.!” Gargiulo added that BurgerFi started 9 years ago, and he was the first franchisee, but the fifth store to open because it took him over a year to find a right location in Aventura. “My main business is truck repair, Oil Can Man, and what goes with truck repair…hamburgers! We provide 100% all-natural items, no freezers except for custard, our meat is 100% hormone free and antibiotic free, we just added chicken …we have organic vegetables and we have veggie burgers, and everyone says they’re the best veggie burgers! Floyd Raglin is my new partner in Sunny Isles Beach, and we love to work with the community!”
Ali Soule thanked Comm. Sally Heyman for being a long-standing advocate of passenger rail on the Florida East Coast railway, and particularly the Northeast corridor. “Without her vision, we wouldn’t be building the Aventura train station that should open by the end of this year. We’ve been working closely with your Aventura Mayor and Commission even before Brightline became operational. We also want to thank the police …they assist in helping spread the word about rail safety.” Soule gave a quick history of passenger rail service on the FEC starting with the late 1800s and the national and state initiatives to bring it back. “In March 2012, Florida East Coast said that if the company that owns the rail corridor that goes through almost every downtown on the east side of the state can’t make it happen, then who can? All Aboard Florida, which is now Brightline, was announced. It took several years to design and permit Phase 1 between downtown Miami, downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. It takes about 70 minutes from Miami to West Palm Beach via Brightline, and by car, it takes over two hours. And from Miami to Fort Lauderdale takes just under 30 minutes. Our motto is that we are reliable, safe, smart, comfortable…an amazing alternative. We have two classes of service: SMART which is regular class and pretty amazing as is and then there’s SELECT that offers complimentary food and beverage included on the train and in the station. There’s complimentary Wi-Fi for everyone, each station has parking, we have extra wide leather seats bigger than first class airline seats, and we have some great events onboard…birthday parties, company parties, and the Polar Express during the holiday season. Being a private company,
we can be more innovative. We are also the official transportation partner for the Miami Heat. If you’re trying to get to downtown Miami on game day…or any day…it can be tough. We offer buzzer feeder trains, which means the train stays until after final buzzer, so you won’t miss any part of the game.
Orlando is the big component to our system. In May 2019, we started construction on our Phase 2 system to Orlando. It’s a three-year build, hopeful to be operational by end of 2022. This year, Brightline is also building a station in Boca across from Mizner Park and also working to finalize a station on Port Miami property. About one year ago, we embarked upon a licensing and partnership agreement with Virgin so Brightline will transition and become a Virgin company. Our team that operates and leads the company will continue to do so. From a marketing, public relations and partnership perspective, it was a really smart move for us, since about 96% of Americans have name recognition of Virgin.
We’re very excited about the Virgin name because we are also in the process of finishing design and engineering and raising the funds for constructing a system between southern California and Las Vegas. That route has about 56 million car trips a year, with congestion up to six hours for a one -way trip. We will make the trip in about 90 minutes. That’s really our full vision…connecting key cities that are too close to fly and too long to drive.
At the end of last year, we received final approval from Miami-Dade Commission to build a 10,000 sq. ft. station on the west side of the tracks just west of the Aventura Mall. Construction should start in a few months and be completed and operational by year-end.
As part of our agreement, we will have four trains during morning and evening rush hour service and obviously regular service during the day. We are also working together to fast track a pedestrian walkway over Biscayne Blvd. that will connect to the mall. We hope to have that done concurrently, but we still have things to work through the construction. In the interim, we’ll connect with a trolley system. Your Aventura station will have all the same features as at all other stations. We’re the only passenger rail service that screens both passengers and bags, and the lounge and first- class area is ADA accessible.
We also have an agreement with the county to offer special commuter pricing …$6.50 for a one- way trip for both morning and evening. This will be the first intra-city stop in Miami-Dade County, and part of the first commuter rail system in the northeast corridor.”