According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a developer in the far reaches of Chicagoland has put up his own money to build a station for Amtrak in downtown New Buffalo, MI. The rail provider currently stops at a station a few miles out, but Jimmy Gierczyk saw the economic potential for a new station right next to his luxury developments.
Gierczyk, who designed the Tinley Park World Music Theatre, broke ground on the new train station Oct. 31 and hopes to complete it before Christmas. He spent $1.5 million on parking lots and a 250-foot railroad platform, right by his condo and luxury townhome development.
“You can walk out the door of my condominium and you can catch the train,” he said.
This is the only privately developed Amtrak station in recent memory, according to Mike Franke, assistant vice president of state and commuter partnerships for Amtrak. He called the station a “great opportunity to service a growing area.”
It may sound like a greedy misappropriation of a public service such as Amtrak, but this sort of developer driven expansion is how America’s historic network of trains and streetcars grew up. I’m not sure catering to private whims is a great way to create a modern train system these days, but if a developer is willing to build Amtrak a brand new downtown station in an area it already services… that’s hard to say no to.