Monday, November 3, 2008

Waiting for Guffman or TOD

As I read this article about Developers in Austin who are postponing their development because the street they are adjacent to might have light rail, I think of all the wasted opportunities, such as the building of a Home Depot on the Central Corridor in St. Paul. But I also think back to if the light rail would have passed in 2000. It would be built by now and expansions would certainly be planned because ridership would more than likely be above projected ridership. And one of those could have been a Riverside line.

But the opportunity lost for smart redevelopment on Guadalupe and other streets was huge. My most hated project was the one on the corner of 38th and Guadalupe, a stupid Starbucks built by notorious rail hater John Lewis. What a waste of an acre. Instead of ground floor retail and 20+ housing units, they got a Texadelphia and a Starbucks in a single story building. That development was a direct result of the 2000 light rail loss.

Now in the current instance, the developer pausing is ok, but its likely the project as a whole won't be transit oriented like it should be. It's not like they need permission to build a dense transit oriented development on Riverside. There are University of Texas buses as well as Capital Metro buses that run there. At some point in the future their should be higher capacity transit. The last thing that irks me is that they are waiting for the city instead of being more proactive in pushing for the rail line. If they realized the value it would create for thier property they should be the ones pushing on the city, not the other way around. And it would benefit them to wait a bit for the market to get better as well. Apologies to my friends who are transit oriented developers, but your colleagues need an education.


fasolamatt said...

The Home Depot in St Paul isn't built yet; the place where they were going to build it is still (wait for it) a bus parking lot.

jon said...

Speaking of Guadalupe, the development along the Guadalupe Corridor LRT in San Jose is another lost opportunity for TOD. And these office parks surrounded by acres of parking were all built after the LRT line was built. San Jose is an example of everything not to do with LRT.

Anonymous said...

Well this is this kind of dumb zoning/planning crap the people like O'Toole push for.

AC said...

I really suspect their decision is being dictated by the downturn. The developers I know claim it will be very hard to get financing anytime soon. I'm sure these guys will want to build densely if they can.