Green Line helped spur $4.2 billion in development, officials say

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The Green Line has helped spur $4.2 billion in development in the Twin Cities, according to the Metropolitan Council.

The agency says development along the current and planned light rail lines is well above expectations, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement, noting original projections called for $7 billion in development along the Green Line over 30 years.

"We are absolutely hearing from developers that the Green Line is driving their investments," Coleman added.

The release of development figures Tuesday comes at a time officials are urging state legislators to invest more in transportation, with Met Council Chair Adam Duininck saying "The continued development along the Green Line tells a story of how transit investment can transform communities while better connecting people to the entire region."

Duininck notes it's "critical" the legislature provides the remaining funding for the controversial Southwest LRT so the state doesn't lose out on federal funding, and so the line can help "spur even more development" in the communities along the planned transit route.

Already, the Southwest LRT has tracked $430 million in development that's finished or underway, Met Council notes. The Blue Line Extension has also seen $358 million in development.

Met Council also touts the thousands of jobs the Green Line has helped create for workers across the state.

But the development isn't just because of the Green Line, officials say. Met Council spokesperson John Welbes told the Pioneer Press the agency isn't "claiming that all this development happened because of the Green Line. But certainly there are projects that benefited from it."

Officials note an improved economy and a tight rental market have also played into the development boom in the corridor, the paper says.

And projects like Downtown East, the redevelopment of the Nicollet Hotel block, the expansion of the Hennepin County Medical Center and the Block E redevelopment all had other factors besides the Green Line that contributed to their redevelopment, according to the Star Tribune.

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