ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Metro Transit’s 11-mile Green Line light rail system running from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis begins service exactly one month from today on June 14.
The route promises greater access throughout for the Twin Cities and metro area suburbs, but transportation officials say the new service is also helping development flourish along the route.
The Green Line, a billion-dollar project with 18 stops, and officials are saying several projects have already deciding where to build by factoring in their potential distance from the light rail.
Members of the Metropolitan Council, which tracks the Green Line’s progress, say 121 projects within a half-mile of the new tracks have been started or built since Metro Transit construction started about five years ago.
Many of those projects are housing, like the Episcopal Homes senior facility within walking distance of the light rail in St Paul.
Officials say there are more deals in the works for commercial businesses and shops, an investment to the tune of $2.5 billion.
The hope is development will only continue and grow jobs around the Green Line as ridership grows to an estimated 40,000 riders each weekday by 2030.
“The development we’ve seen so far only marks the beginning of new opportunities in the Central Corridor,” Metropolitan Council chair Sue Haigh said. “For decades to come, the Green Line will be a catalyst for employment and economic growth along its 11-mile route.”
The Metropolitan Council says their study didn’t even factor in the biggest projects that are along the route, such as the new Vikings stadium and Target Field — though it does include the $243 million renovation of St. Paul’s Union Depot, which is the Green Line’s final eastbound stop. They mainly focused on less-developed areas.
They say they hope the Green Line will be a huge boost for the stretch.