The Initial Economic Impacts of the DART Light Rail Transit System Page: 1
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I. Introduction and Overview
After years of planning and building, DART rail became a reality in June of 1996. As
part of the "Before and After Study," the University of North Texas Center for Economic Devel-
opment and Research was retained to identify and measure the initial economic impacts of the
LRT system, focusing primarily on property values and retail sales. The following report present
Section II is a review of the academic and professional literature on rail transit and
property values. Most studies to date have found only marginal positive impacts on adjacent
property values when rail systems are constructed, with the exception of joint public-private
development partnerships. But the focus of these studies has been mainly on heavy rail systems,
not light rail as is the case of Dallas. What's more, the Dallas area exhibits different economic
and demographic characteristics than most other communities where mass rail transit has been
constructed in recent years.
Section III looks at changes in taxable values between 1994 and 1998 for properties
located near DART stations as well as a sample of commercial, industrial and residential proper-
ties in comparable neighborhoods not served by DART rail. The jump in valuations around
DART stations was about 25 percent greater than in the control neighborhoods with the sharpest
gain posted in the City Place-Mockingbird-Lovers corridor.
Section IV examines the impacts of DART rail on commercial real estate, in particular
occupancy and rental rates for office, retail and industrial properties. By these measures, prox-
imity to DART LRT stations appears to be a plus for most classes of real estate, especially Class
A and C office buildings and strip retail.
The final section of the report looks at the growth of retail sales since DART rail went
into service. Between mid-1997 and mid-1998, total retail sales jumped 36.2 percent in Dallas'
Central Business District. By contrast, retail sales growth citywide was only 3.6 percent.
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Weinstein, Bernard L. & Clower, Terry L. The Initial Economic Impacts of the DART Light Rail Transit System, report, July 1999; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30378/m1/2/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Center for Economic Development and Research.