Developers Jump Aboard The Trend To Revamp Transit Hubs And Remake Cities
Throughout the U.S. development around upgraded transit hubs has never been so robust.
Never has the often used marketing term, “close to transportation” been more important when attracting home buyers. These days it’s not just homes that are selling fast because of their proximity to a train station – but entire neighborhoods.
The New York Times reported that developers are flocking to transportation hubs as commuters, particularly millennials, appreciate being able to walk to the the train and the amenities which surround it. This has been no more evident than in Somerville, a suburb of Boston MA, where a Bay Transportation Authority subway station was paramount in luring Partners HealthCare to a new 825,000-square-foot office building at the Assembly Row complex last year, Chris Weilminster, the president for the mixed-use division of the developer Federal Realty Investment Trust told the newspaper.
The station opened in 2014 and has since spurred further development of housing, offices and restaurants on a 45-acre former industrial site. Now a further investment of $280 million will see homes, including condominiums on top of a boutique hotel.
“You can’t underestimate the importance that the investment in transit infrastructure has had,” Mr. Weilminster said. “Assembly Row would not be what it is today without the station. We wouldn’t have built it.”
Elsewhere in the Boston area, in Quincy, thousands of apartments and condos along with retail space are being built around the train station.
“We were able to be player in our own destiny,” Quincy principal planner Rob Stevens told the Boston Herald regarding the city’s role in encouraging the Quincy Center development. “The city sets the table for development.”
As well as these two stations Quincy also contains the Wollaston and Quincy Adams Red Line stops.
With train and bus stations encouraging development throughout many major U.S. conubations (Chicago, Austin, Annaheim and Seattle are just some of the recent places transit and urban development have transformed cities), companies, aware of the draw for workers and business, are paying premium rents to be accessible, sometimes up to 80 percent higher than those further away.
In Philadelphia a group of investors are planning to transform a run down area in North Philadelphia into a major commuter hub with all the accoutrements that entails — residential units, office and retail, reported philly.com recently. With a $162 million first phase cost, two new buildings will appear on the train station’s current parking lot and a dilapidated factory nearby will be renovated. The plan hinges on approvals and grant money but such a large scale endeavor is a sure way to eradicate urban blight and encourage business.
“This could be the holy grail that could jump-start revitalization in North Philadelphia,” Harris Steinberg, who directs Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, said. “Whether the market is there for this kind of development is another question.”
In Buffalo, New York a new train station is expected to be passed by the DOT, which is hoped which will revitalize the downtown area. Amtrak announced in March 2016 that it plans to build a $50 million concourse in DC’s Union Station, The transportation giant also proposed a mighty $6.5 billion overhaul to Philadelphia’s 30th Street station, a massive undertaking involving construction over rail yards.
“I think it’s a huge trend nationally, not to just build transit for mobility, but to achieve other objectives like jobs, economic development and livability,”L. Bert Cossaboon, vice president at design firm McCormick Taylor, told SmartCitiesdive.com. “The more transit investment can spur hubs and centers of activity, the more ridership they get. It’s in their best interest to invest.”
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