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Metro Transit Goes West: Why It Matters

By Eric Beise, Realtor

The headline doesn’t bring quite the nostalgia of the kids movie from the early 90’s, Fievel goes West, but it is what is happening to the Twin Cites light rail transportation system.

Not everyone gets as excited as I do about the details of new development in Minneapolis MN, so to keep things interesting you’ll get some movie references to help remember the facts and break down why you should care.

“Show Me the Money”

Last week, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave an important approval for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) project. Along with this approval, came the ability to for the Met Council to award the construction contract for the project which is estimates a total cost of $2 Billion. That is the largest infrastructure project in the state’s history. For those who are worried after doing some quick napkin math in regards to local tax implications, take a slight sigh of relief. Another FTA approval is expected early in 2019 for $929 million in federal funding, or roughly half of the project’s cost.

Supersize Me

A key factor in the development of this transit line lies in the expected population and business growth within a half mile of the 16 proposed stations. With an expected 56% population growth between 2014 and 2035 outside of downtown and an expected 18% increase in employment within downtown, the prioritization of mass transit into downtown has long been expected.

Adding the infrastructure for 16 stations throughout Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Edina, St. Louis Park, and heading into Minneapolis will certainly create changes. With the original Green Line as a model, the expectation is there will be a lot of opportunity for new business, as well as effects on the hyper local housing markets surrounding this extension of the Green Line. The location of the stations seem to strike a balance between work and play. Some stations are located in the heart of retail and entertainment, while others land next to large employers and offices.

“There’s not a lot of money in revenge.”

Okay, that last quote doesn’t really fit but it has the word money in it, I love The Princess Bride, and this last section is about how this project could impact your net worth. Traditionally, we have seen slight price depression for residential housing and decreased foot traffic for businesses while heavy construction is happening. For the SWLRT project, this construction would take place from 2019-2022. Then, as ridership is expected to open in 2023, a wave of prosperity would be projected for both business and home owners over the following years, providing the savvy buyers and sellers another opportunity for strategic investment. For additional information and updates you can check out the Metropolitan Council website

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