Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Developers eyeing sites, building along Southwest light rail line

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 5, 2014 - 10:00 PM

In Minneapolis, city leaders say they’re hearing from developers interested in sites near four of its stations such as the Royalston station near the farmers market. And an analysis is being done on the potential for development near the Van White station area.

A neighborhood transformed

In St. Louis Park, the area of Hwy. 100 and W. 36th Street, once a tired industrial area, has been transformed with an influx of apartments and condos near where the proposed Wooddale station would be, Community Development Director Kevin Locke said.

“It’s an added point of interest from them,” he said of the light rail. “We’d expect that once light rail is committed or built, there will be even more development opportunities.”

In fact, a proposal for the former McGarvey Coffee building off Hwy. 7 won’t get approval, he said, until the line and stations are finalized because it’s so close to a station.

Next door in Hopkins, construction is underway now for a 163-unit apartment building one block from the city’s proposed downtown station, while an affordable apartment building project next to the planned Blake Road station is going through the proposal process.

In Minnetonka, a proposed medical building off Shady Oak Road and Excelsior Boulevard also includes transit-friendly housing because it’s near the station. And a medical-technology firm just moved to the city in part because it’s near a future station, Community Development Director Julie Wischnack said.

Line was a draw for health titan

Light rail also was an attraction for UnitedHealth Group, which is building a $250 million, 1.5-million-square-foot office development between Hwys. 62 and 212, near where a station will go.

But the big spike in light-rail-influenced development, Walker said, may not come until after the project is approved. A recent analysis of the Hiawatha, or Blue Line, showed that light rail caused almost no increase in the likelihood of new development near rail platforms in its first six years. Yet, even researchers said development has taken off since 2010 — after the years they studied — likely because of an improving economy and the effects of light rail taking time.

Proponents like Locke, in St. Louis Park, say Southwest development is likely to be different because it’s a longer line built after the economy rebounded and includes a lot of potential development sites.

“With the Southwest line being really the third element in the system, you start to see more potential,” he said. “The more extensive our light rail is, the more possibilities for development.”


Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters






question of the day

Poll: Predict the outcome of Game 4 for the Wild

Weekly Question