Met Council: Light Rail-Adjacent Development Up $1.6 Billion Last Year

February 14, 2018 07:14 PM

The Metropolitan Council says developers have added $8.4 billion in investment along current and potential metro light rail corridors since the transit-ways were added to the Twin Cities landscape.

The agency says that number could be higher as many projects along the lines,  including 24 of 41 project on the Blue Line, have not yet publicly disclosed their project value, according to a release. 

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RELATED: Work Begins in St. Louis Park Ahead of SWLRT Extension

The Met Council says it tracks proposed, under construction or completed developments along the existing Green and Blue lines and their proposed extensions.

"In the past year alone, we have seen an increase of $1.6 billion for a total of $8.4 billion in development along LRT lines," Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff said, according to the release. "Businesses and developers choose proximity to light rail because they know that residents and workers of all ages are increasingly demanding access to transit – whether for housing, work, school, or entertainment."

The news comes as funding for future light rail projects remains a sticking point at the Legislature, and as BNSF Railway has raised concerns over the extension of the Blue Line to the northwest metro, also known as the Bottineau line.  

In a January letter to Blue Line Expansion Project Director Daniel Soler, BNSF Vice President Richard Weicher wrote that the railroad doesn't think the project "would be consistent with our passenger principles or protect the long-term viability of freight service …" along the railroad's current right-of-way.

Tchourumoff has expressed her confidence the parties can find a solution.

RELATED: Met Council Chair: Reject Current SWLRT Construction Bids, Reopen Process

The Met Council points to the project investments along the current and projected lines as evidence of light rail's ability to play a key role in spurring new development. 

It pointed to the developer Timberland Partners, whose officials say the light rail transit is a primary driver in how cities look at redevelopment.

In marketing materials the company says it plans to tout the proximity of its three new projects, comprising 599 housing units, to the Green Line and Green Line extension with two in St. Paul and one in Eden Prairie. 

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Michael Oakes

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