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What makes DART able to attract economic development? From the beginning, part of DART's mission has been to build a transportation system large enough to stimulate economic development. The voter-approved 1 percent sales tax that funds DART makes that possible.
Developers generally are looking for good transportation infrastructure when they are deciding where to build that next office tower, residential complex or shopping center. Many times, people think of this infrastructure as roads. What most developers now realize is that good public transit also can provide an efficient way to move people around.
As our system grows, people see that DART is now a viable way to get from Point A to Point B. Cities, employers and developers also have realized it, and they are building near rail stations and bus routes.
Light rail spurs private investmentRide past any number of DART Rail stations and you'll notice construction. The visual clues offer anecdotal evidence: The number of privately developed structures being built within walking distance of DART Rail stations appears to be on the rise. (See story on Page 6.)
The proof came from the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas. The center's latest study found that more than $5.3 billion in private-capital transit-oriented development projects have been built, are under construction, or are planned near light rail stations since the debut of DART Rail in 1996.
"Even through difficult economic times, DART has demonstrated its ability to boost the North Texas economy through its daily operations, capital spending and attracting private investment," said Terry L. Clower, Ph.D., director of the Center for Economic Development and Research.
Billions in development underwayResearchers evaluated developments located within 0.25 mile of a DART Rail station and found that the station area outperformed comparable properties farther away. New developments built between 1993 and 2013 in close proximity to light rail totaled more than $1.5 billion in valuation, compared with roughly $600 million in control areas.
Beyond the property value, estimated tax contributions for development located near DART stations exceed $36 million annually, surpassing the $14 million estimated in the control group areas.
Developers have announced plans to build roughly $3.8 billion in projects deliberately located near DART Rail over the next decade. If completed, more than 8,500 multifamily units, as well as several million square feet of office and retail space, will arrive near DART stations. Estimates suggest these developments will net local jurisdictions $91 million in annual real property tax revenues.
One impressive example: the 186-acre CityLine project under construction next to Richardson's Bush Turnpike Station. Real estate developer KDC is creating the mixed-use development, which will be anchored by State Farm's new regional campus. Raytheon recently announced it will relocate its regional office to CityLine.
"Investing in DART has expanded transportation options and attracted corporate, residential, retail and cultural facilities to our city," said Richardson City Manager Dan Johnson.
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