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Transit-oriented development works in St. Paul

Real estate often seems to present a chicken-or-egg dilemma. As a developer of commercial real estate, you want to acquire property in advance of significant appreciation, as that allows you the greatest flexibility in your design and mix of future owner or tenants.

While you want to purchase low and sell high, you need to guess correctly where development will come next. With much development, the critical factor is ensuring there are adequate transportation modes available to deliver customers to your customers.

In suburban development, where inexpensive farmland was purchased and later developed into commercial and residential projects, the determinate was often simply the construction of multi-lane freeways that could carry the future residents and shopper to and from these areas.

Today, as congestion and gridlock make ex-urban areas less attractive, development becomes more complex. Today, development is likely to be focused on urban areas in older industrial or commercial areas for redevelopment into more mixed-use and residential areas, often with retail and restaurants. With that development come many issues from zoning to environmental testing of 'brownfields."

In St. Paul, the construction and completion of the Green Line has helped to foster transit-oriented development (TOD) along University Avenue. In areas like this, the transit system can bring the critical mass of people needed to make the development viable and profitable.

Much future development in the Twin Cities is likely to link TOD with the reuse of these older areas, which will spur greater demand and development along these corridors.

Source:, "Transit-oriented development in St. Paul: connections that create value," Brian Martucci, March 11, 2016

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