When looking at buying or selling commercial property, it
would be much easier if we had a crystal ball to tell us the
future. In lieu of a crystal ball, however, we can take a look at
development trends in the past to help us with potential future
One trend that will remain constant in the future is
transportation and accessibility. Transportation plays a large
part in determining the future state of a community and its
businesses, and that isn’t likely to change. With the continued
expansion in MN transit lines, we will continue to see shifts
in workforce demographics as well as residential shifts
throughout urban, suburban, and rural communities as we
become increasingly more mobile and connected.
Improved transit service can also shape real estate decisions,
as new residents and jobs move to areas with improved
transit service. The Rush Line Corridor is a prime example of
a proposed project that should give companies some food for
thought when thinking through long-term real estate decisions.
The Rush Line. The Rush Line is a transportation corridor and proposed
commuter rail service extending 80 miles from Hinckley
to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul (roughly following
Interstates 35 and 35E and Trunk Highway 61). Based
on current and future population, employment, and travel
demand, this corridor has been identified for transportation
Represented by The Rush Line Corridor Task Force, a
Pre-Project Development (PPD) Study is underway that
will analyze bus and rail alternatives along the corridor to
increase the availability of reliable, convenient, and affordable
transportation choices. Currently the task force is predicting
the summer of 2016 for transit option selection with a
scheduled implementation date after 2020.
Though this may seem far into the horizon and lacking a
firm plan, this will have implications on real estate along the
corridor. Depending on the type of industry, the impact could
provide some big benefits.
Thinking Ahead – Who will benefit?
If the past is any prediction of the future, the current Green
Line transit from Minneapolis to Saint Paul has shown growth
in both Apartment and Office development, with retail in a
distant third place.
Apartments: Being located close to a transit stop provides
apartments the ability to boast about accessibility. This is a
win for apartments attracting residents looking to improve
their commute to both work and play.
Offices: Ease of transportation is becoming more important to
offices looking to recruit and retain top talent. Employees are
paying attention to ease of commute as part of their workplace
expectations, and being located on a transit line provides a
Retail: Drugs stores, restaurants and service providers can
gain an advantage from being on a transit stop, with the
potential for increased branding and sales from additional foot
Industrial: Though a transit stop is also a benefit for the
employees of an industrial user, many industrial users cannot
support the higher costs of being near a transit station. The
most common circumstance surrounding industrial users and
mass transit is when an industrial building is secured prior to
the line coming through and then reaps the advantages.
Development: Normally land values do not rise, nor will
developers pay a premium, until the transit line is a sure thing.
Sometimes, a forward-thinking seller may decide to hold onto
land, betting on the day the plan takes action.
While it is impossible to predict future trends, it’s important
to look at current and past trends that have helped shape the
Twin Cities real estate landscape. By monitoring these trends,
and putting them in the perspective of different tenants and
users, we may be able to paint a picture of the future of the