Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Met Council touts Green Line economic impact

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St. Paul, Minn.'s yet-to-open Green Line (Central Corridor LRT project) is being credited with "at least $2.5 billion worth of new construction and redevelopment projects" by the Metropolitan Council, overseeing public transit in Minnesota's Twin Cities.

The Green Line, set to open on June 14, has been a draw for both residential and commercial development near the University of Minnesota, along University Avenue, and in both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, Met Council asserted in a statement Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

"The development we've seen so far only marks the beginning of new opportunities in the Central Corridor," said Met Council Chair Sue Haigh. "For decades to come, the Green Line will be a catalyst for employment and economic growth along its 11-mile route."

Metropolitan Council is tracking 121 projects that have announced total-investment figures, or have filed building permits, to reach the $2.5 billion figure. Of those 121 projects, 43 haven't yet announced or made public an investment figure, meaning that the $2.5 billion figure is expected to climb in coming months.

The compilation by Met Council presumably was made to counter years of complaints from some area businesses and allied parties asserting that light rail transit construction was damaging or destroying business development, with no discernable payoff in the future.

Met Council's calculations do not include some of the larger projects along the line that received public funding, including the new Vikings' stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, and Target Field. The total does include the just $243 million rehabilitation of Union Depot in St. Paul's Lowertown, the Green Line's eastern terminus, which reopened to the public on May 7, 2014.