Comment 37160

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2010 at 10:35:03

LRT has the potential to achieve exactly the sort of rejuvenated downtown we all want to see.

One of the main reasons RTH (and the Chamber of Commerce, the City, the Realtors and BIAs) support LRT is precisely because it has been proven over and over to act as a catalyst for investment in under-valued and dilapidated urban areas. Numerous RTH articles have detailed the evidence.

If we wanted to be sure that LRT would lead to renovated buildings, we could do what they did in Bordeaux. Since LRT increases property values, the City of Bordeaux insisted that property owners renovate the facades of their buildings along the line. This ensured that the City was getting maximum value for their investment, as well as being fair (why should deadbeat owners profit from increased values they didn't help to create).

According to Bordeaux city officials I talked to, this led to a very active property market in the years before and during construction as deadbeat owners unloaded their properties because they couldn't be bothered fixing them up. The result was that property values increased significantly even before the line was complete.

This is an example of an effective public-private partnership, and maximum leverage of public investment. It is a true virtuous cycle.

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