D.C. Surface Transit, Inc—a project of the Downtown DC BID—did a short little comparison study of how property values have increased around streetcar lines in Seattle and Portland. The results are pretty dramatic: In Seattle, which only has a little dinky streetcar linking an office and condo-heavy area with downtiwn, property values along the line have increased between 50 and 80 percent. Portland’s streetcar line triggered a rush of investment; 55 percent of all new development in streetcar neighborhoods was targeted within one block of the tracks.
Taking these increases into account, DCST commissioned a study of how property values along H Street might be affected over a 20-year time frame. For “income-oriented properties”—retail, hotels, and office space—property values are supposed to more than double. Good news for folks who’ve already bought in the area. And good news for the city, which will reap the benefits of increased property taxes (I’d like to see DCST do an analysis of exactly how much marginal benefit can be captured there).
The measure of how confident people are in the rest of the system getting built will be how much prices go up along planned lines: How much would you bet on DDOT’s success?