Expansion of the DART Rail System has been one of the region's largest public works projects for more than a decade. DART's capital spending between 2003 and 2013 was almost $5.63 billion, or $4.7 billion in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars.
Mockingbird Station, Texas' first transit-oriented development, has been the model for mixed-use projects near other DART Rail stations.
A study released in January 2014, by the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas, examined the build-out's economic impact. In the 11-year period studied, the expansion generated $7.4 billion in regional economic activity, creating more than 54,000 person-years of employment that paid in excess of $3.3 billion in salaries, wages and benefits.
To encompass the completion of the Orange Line to DFW Airport and the Blue Line extension in southern Dallas in 2016, the researchers extended the analysis time line to consider future capital spending through FY 2017. They estimate that the total light rail expansion program will exceed $5.6 billion in cost, expressed in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars.
Beyond construction of the rail lines themselves, the investment in DART continues to catalyze transit-oriented development near rail stations.
In a companion study, also released in January 2014, the UNT researchers found that more than $5.3 billion in private-capital transitoriented development projects have been built, are under construction, or are planned within a quarter mile of DART's light rail stations since the debut of DART Rail in 1996.
New commercial developments built between 1993 and 2013 totaled more than $1.5 billion in valuation, compared with roughly $600 million in control areas. Estimated tax contributions for new development exceeded $36 million annually, which is more than twice the $14 million estimated in the control group areas.
"DART service will have a big effect on the local economy because a lot of businesses will start to line up near rail stations; that's where people congregate," said Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Developers have announced plans to build roughly $3.8 billion in projects deliberately located near DART Rail over the next decade. The estimate of DART-attributable investment is a moving target, and researchers intend to update the figure as more information becomes available or new projects are announced.
Researchers also documented that offices located within the quarter-mile radius of DART Rail stations command an average 13.9 percent higher rental rate than comparable properties with highway-only access.
Although not part of the study, transit access also has played an important role in the expansion of many nonprofit and civic projects, including hospitals, colleges and governmental institutions located near rail stations.
Many transit-oriented development projects are underway throughout the DART Service Area. Here are a few examples:
At full build-out, the CityLine project will include approximately 6 million square feet of office space, two hotels, apartment communities, three parks, and approximately 300,000 square feet of grocery, restaurant, entertainment and retail space.
- CityLine/State Farm at
Bush Turnpike Station
Located on 186 acres adjacent to the Red Line's Bush Turnpike Station, near Richardson's border with Plano, developer KDC is constructing the multiuse CityLine development. Anchor tenant State Farm is leasing 2 million square feet of office space across four buildings.
- KDC and JLB Partners have started construction on two apartment communities at CityLine, both located within walking distance of the rail station. The northern, four-story community will feature 233 units, and the five-story southern project will contain 299 units.
- The focal point of the initial phase will be CityLine Plaza, a landscaped open space that will be framed by retail, restaurant and entertainment venues integrated into the base of the office towers and apartment communities.
- Raytheon also is constructing a 489,000-square-foot office complex in the area, which will consist of three buildings.
- Construction of the 2.3 million-square-foot initial phase of the CityLine development began in summer 2013 with completion scheduled for 2015.
- Parkland Health Center at
Frazier Revitalization Inc. is constructing a new community health center for Parkland Health & Hospital System adjacent to Hatcher Station on the Green Line.
- Development of the $19.8 million facility is a public-private partnership between the city of Dallas and Frazier, a community development organization. The clinic will anchor Frazier's Hatcher Station Village.
- The single-story, 44,378-square-foot outpatient center will serve geriatric patients, along with adults, women, children and infants, and provide behavioral health services, on-site diagnostic imaging and lab services. Parkland is replacing an aging facility in East Dallas and estimates the new, larger clinic will serve 70,000 patients annually.
Lancaster Urban Village, located near VA Medical Center Station, provides attractive apartment living options in southern Dallas.
- Parkland will lease the building from Frazier Revitalization. It is slated to be ready for occupancy by the second quarter of 2015.
- Lancaster Urban Village at
VA Medical Center Station
A block from the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and its namesake Blue Line station, Lancaster Urban Village includes 193 apartments and 14,000 square feet of commercial space. The 3.5-acre development also comprises a headquarters expansion of the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas, which is being used for workforce training and services.
- The $30 million project - which opened in June 2014 - provides affordable housing and retail services in a pedestrian-friendly setting. The Dallas VA Medical Center employs 3,000 workers and records thousands of annual patient visits, providing a substantial economic base for the new development.
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