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Light Rail Drives $8.2B in Development

More than 10MSF in Commercial/Office Construction

From left to right: Phoenix Public Transit Director Maria Hyatt, DeSoto Market owner Shawn Connelly, Phoenix Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela, Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix Councilmember Kate Gallego, Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. Photo courtesy of Valley Metro

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

The Phoenix Metro area has received more than $8.2B in private and public development along the 20 miles of light rail since recordkeeping began in 2005, according to statements from Valley Metro.

More than 200 private and public projects have been undertaken within half a mile of light rail since 2005. Private investment, at just under $6B, exceeds public projects ($2.2B) by more than 2 ½ to 1. Another $346M of commercial and residential building, mostly in private efforts, is currently planned.

In addition, the soon-to-open light rail central Mesa extension has generated approximately $90M in public and private development. The initial northwest extension will open in 2016, and the second phase of the Mesa extension is targeted for 2018.

All told, the Regional Transportation Plan adopted by the Maricopa Association of Governments calls for 66 total miles of rail service to be completed by 2034.

Valley Metro originally estimated $7B in investment over the first 10 years. The greater than anticipated economic development activity was realized due to ridership exceeding initial estimates. Initial daily ridership was expected to be 26,000. Actual average current ridership is approximately 45,000.

10.3M of the more than 21MSF of development along the 20-mile light rail area have come in the form of commercial and office projects. Residential development came in a distant second at approximately 5.6MSF. Education (4.7MSF) and public building (0.9MSF) rounded out the four named categories in the report.

Economic Development along 20-Mile Light Rail

  • Number of Projects: 204
  • Capital Investment – Private:  $5,989,639,864
  • Capital Investment – Public:  $2,241,737,632
  • Total Investment:  $8,231,377,496
  • SF Commercial/Office: 10,327,168
  • SF Public:  938,737
  • SF Education:  4,698,902
  • SF Residential:  5,666,863
  • # Residential Units:  15,328
  • # Affordable Units: 1,300
  • # Hotel Rooms:  2,948 


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