Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Community Ride - Training the Community

Property owners along routes of proposed light rail lines have reason for concern.

Light rail is good for the community, its advocates will tell you. It will lead to community redevelopment and rebuilding.

How do they know?

Because these people are developers. They lust after property deals.

When they talk to you, they don't exactly look at you. They are more looking through you to the final property owner when all the dust has settled. They see dollar signs... and are willing to pay pennies to get to the dollars.

Here's the deal. Light rail is an immediate action. Real estate developers love immediate actions. Immediate actions related to property make buyers buy because something is just about to happen. There will be short term gains. It's just a question of timing.

And you won't see those gains, because you aren't doing the right thing with your property. You are transacting business or living in it or maybe sitting on it. That's not right.

Developers will spot the best properties, rank them for potential, keep track of route changes, and go after the properties to tear down the old and put up the light rail accessories.

What are light rail accessories?

Light rail accessories are the four or five story condominiums with no load shops on the first floor, shops like cell phone stores. No one is going to be hauling a big bag of cell phones out of a cell phone store. The condominiums will be built with limited garage space because -- hey -- right out front is the light rail train.

The businesses along the light rail line will not continue. They don't belong there. A grocery store? People are going to carry three bags of groceries on the train?!? A hardware store? Are you kidding me? A furniture store? Are you crazy? Stores with inventory? How are they supposed to get trucks in and out with all the traffic and traffic size limitations... helicopter? Not with the power lines for the light rail, you're not.

Businesses needing trucks and loading docks and parking spaces are not light rail accessories.

And light rail accessories are found near light rail stations.

Having property along light rail lines but not near light rail stations is... well... nothing.

It wouldn't even be good land for a park. You know that space between light rail cars? It turns out it is just big enough to get a basketball wedged in, if someone missed the free-throw.

Being on the track but not at a station is like missing the train entirely, except that the train is still hitting your front door on its way by.

That's the way it looks: along the Hiawatha Line, along the Central Corridor LRT, and any proposed light rail line.

The new re-trained community will look nothing like the old community. What you know isn't even part of the picture.

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