The Metropolitan Council, a regional policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities, recently announced that $6.786 billion in investment has occurred along the already existing METRO lines and along the proposed extension lines in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. This amount includes new construction as well as redevelopment or rehabilitation of older buildings.
Metropolitan Council Chair, Adam Duinick, says “Businesses continue making strategic investments along existing and planned light rail lines, demonstrating their conviction that light rail is a valuable asset to local communities along these routes.” Local business owner, Kelly Doran, agrees, saying that her new building’s proximity to a proposed extension line is “a major selling point in attracting tenants.”
Along with attracting development and new business, METRO is connecting people to jobs. The proposed Southwest Light Rail Extension line will host 15 stations. Currently, there are already 64,300 jobs located within a half mile of these proposed stations and an additional 16,600 jobs are projected to be added to the area by 2035. The Blue Line Extension already has 16,200 jobs within a half mile of the proposed 11 new stations and 20,800 more jobs are expected to come. Of the 17 Fortune 500 companies in Minnesota, 9 are located along METRO lines in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region.
Development highlights include mixed-income housing, one million square feet of office space, 332-units of residential housing, and other commercial, industrial, and hotel development.
Construction on the extension lines will begin in 2017 and 2018 and is expected to be complete in 2020 and 2021.