Nearly $6.8 billion in new development reported along LRT lines

Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

At least $6.786 billion in investment has been tallied along the existing METRO Green Line and Blue Line and the proposed Southwest and Blue Line Extension Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects, the Metropolitan Council announced today.

These investments include new construction such as the Optum headquarters in Eden Prairie, as well as redevelopment or rehabilitation of existing buildings, such as Custom House Apartments in downtown St. Paul and Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis. The total development likely exceeds the $6.796 billion as many developments along the routes have not publicly disclosed their project value. *

“Businesses continue making strategic investments along existing and planned light rail lines, demonstrating their conviction that light rail is a valuable asset to local communities along these routes,” Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck said.

Kelly Doran, principal and founder of Doran Companies, says proximity to the Southwest Green Line extension is a major selling point in attracting tenants.

“Clearly, the decision to construct the Southwest Light Rail line is a significant boost to the marketing of The Moline, our multi-family apartment project opening in Hopkins this fall — but even more, to future development in the Southwest metro,” Doran said.

Connecting workers to jobs

There are already 64,300 jobs within one-half mile of the 15 planned Southwest LRT stations and another 16,600 jobs are expected to be added by 2035. Once completed, Southwest LRT will connect workers to job centers such as:

  • Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital

  • Downtown Hopkins

  • Opus Business Park

  • Optum corporate headquarters

  • Golden Triangle Business Park

  • Eden Prairie Center shopping mall.

Southwest Light Rail has the support of the business community, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota and Minnesota Business Partnership. Three of Minnesota’s 17 Fortune 500 companies are located on the Southwest line:

  • CH Robinson

  • SuperValu

  • UnitedHealth Group

  • Another six Fortune 500 companies are on the existing LRT lines in downtown Minneapolis.

The Blue Line Extension has 16,200 jobs within one-half mile of its 11 planned new stations and is expected to grow to 20,800 jobs along the route. Target’s Northern Campus in Brooklyn Park is a major job center on the line.

Development highlights along individual LRT corridors

Green Line: $5.1 billion in development, with half outside downtown Minneapolis

The Green Line has seen $5.1 billion in development, up from the previously reported $4.2 billion in spring 2016. Half of that growth ($2.560 billion) has occurred outside downtown Minneapolis. The other half ($2.521 billion) has occurred along the mile of track with five stations shared by the Blue Line in downtown Minneapolis. Development highlights include mixed-income housing around the Minneapolis-St. Paul border between the Prospect Park and Raymond Avenue stations and general economic revitalization along the eastern end of University Avenue.

Southwest: More than half a billion dollars’ worth of development

The Southwest LRT Project, which will begin construction in 2017 and open in 2021, has experienced more than $515 million in development, up from $430 million reported in spring 2016. Since then, the project has secured all its local funding commitments and the Federal Transit Administration has approved the project to complete engineering. the final phase before the FTA in mid-2017 will award the Full Funding Grant Agreement ($928.8 million), which is the federal government’s contractual commitment to pay half the capital costs. Development highlights include a mix of projects around the planned West Lake Street Station in Minneapolis, over 1 million square feet of office space around the City West Station in Eden Prairie and a new proposed 332-unit residential housing near Opus Station.

Blue Line Extension: Nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of development

Development along the Blue Line Extension, which will begin construction in 2018 and open in 2021, has grown from $358 million reported in spring 2016 to $489 million. Commercial, industrial and hotel development is occurring north of Interstates 94/694 to Highway 610 at the line’s northernmost point.

The Blue Line Extension Project will connect downtown Minneapolis to the northwest suburbs. It requires a $149 million local funding commitment by June 2017 to realize a $753 million Full Funding Grant Agreement in 2018. The federal funds are dedicated to transit projects and cannot be used or repurposed for a roadway/highway system.

Blue Line: $700 million and counting in development

Development along the region’s first line, the METRO Blue Line, is valued at $699 million as compiled for only 15 of the 33 projects tracked on the non-shared portion of that corridor in south Minneapolis and Bloomington. Given the number of developments for which data has not been compiled, the actual value of development on this line is higher.

Locations of new development along Twin Cities LRT corridors

Map of development projects (January 2017)

* Editors’ note: Staff compiled data reported by developers about recently completed developments and projects that are under construction or design. Data also includes higher figures for previously reported projects whose development costs increased as projects advanced. The $6.786 billion figure represents only projects whose value is known. For example, the value has been publicly reported for only 15 of the 33 projects tracked on the Blue Line, which opened in 2004, so the actual figure would be higher than $6.786 billion. Staff did not include figures for TCF Bank Stadium, Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium or CHS Field.

Posted In: Communities, Planning, Transportation