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TOD Studies and Projects

Current TOD studies

Development Trends Along Transit - 2021

The success of a region depends in part on the quality of its connections. Together, robust high frequency transit and Transit Oriented Development efficiently tie housing, jobs, shopping, and more. Recognizing this, the TOD office studied the patterns of permitted and planned developments in the Twin Cities, with a focus on those developments along high frequency transit.

A preliminary analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional development indicates that there was a reduction in both permitted developments and construction throughout the 7-county area. However, data indicate that construction activity has been increasing, with a significant recovery in quarter two of 2021. Construction is recovering both regionally and in areas served by high frequency transit, with the share of apartments being constructed near high frequency transit outpacing the region generally.

This report reveals that $15 billion in development has been permitted along high frequency transit between 2003 and 2020, including:

  • 41% of the region’s multifamily development by permit value
    • 39,200 multifamily units – 61% of these units are near LRT, 40% are near BRT, and 30% are served by high frequency local bus routes
  • 39% of the region’s commercial development
  • 28% of the region’s public and institutional development
  • 7% of the region’s industrial development

A further $9.5 billion in development is planned along high frequency transit, representing 67% of the currently planned development for the region. This new development will add another 35,200 multifamily units, nearly doubling the number of residences with immediate access to high frequency transit.

> View the full report


Comprehensive Land Use Planning in High Frequency Transit Corridors:

Dense, Mixed-Use, Transit Oriented and Affordable Housing Development

The Twin Cities metropolitan region contains twelve high-frequency Light Rail (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, which pass through twenty-two separate municipalities. Given regional policies and plans, municipalities that host one or more of the LRT and BRT lines have a unique responsibility to foster dense, transit oriented development at station locations within their communities. This paper explores the Metropolitan Council’s policies regarding density, transit oriented development (TOD), and affordable housing in conjunction with the land use policies of impacted cities. This exploration is meant to provide guidance and examples for communities wishing to support full, vibrant transit oriented developments within future high frequency transit corridors.

> View the full report


Land Value Tax Report - 2021

A bill (HF 338) under consideration by the Minnesota Legislature would permit Minnesota cities to establish land value tax districts. The bill would allow cities to shift property taxes from improvements (buildings) to land while maintaining tax revenue from the subject district. This white paper summarizes the anticipated impacts of a land value tax and examines local case studies utilizing sample districts in transit served areas in Minneapolis, Hopkins, Brooklyn Center, Coon Rapids, Maplewood, Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Cedar Grove.

In each of these case studies, the land value tax was implemented using the methodology proposed by the Minnesota legislature. We made the following observations from these case studies:

  1. A land value tax would incentivize a more productive use of vacant and under-developed parcels.
    1. Taxes increase most on underutilized parcels.
    2. Taxes decrease most on parcels with a high ratio of building value to total value (total value = land value + building value).
  2.  A land value tax encourages a more efficient use of public infrastructure investments.
    1. Land value is highest near high quality public infrastructure and amenities.
  3. The land value tax could improve equity.
    1. In Case Study #1, property taxes generally decrease in areas of concentrated poverty.
    2. The land value tax paired with the Minneapolis affordable housing policy could have the effect of encouraging the development of new affordable housing.

> View the full report

Current Development Projects

Development Opportunities on Metropolitan Council Land

The TOD Office completed a development site prioritization process on all properties owned by the Metropolitan Council located within a half-mile of transitways. Top priority sites were identified by applying the four Metropolitan Council TOD Policy Goals and by coordinating with cities and counties along the transitways. Click here for a downloadable map of these sites. The TOD Office also welcomes developer inquiries on any sites owned by the Metropolitan Council.

MN United MLS Stadium and surrounding mixed-use development

Construction is complete on the new Major League Soccer stadium on land owned by Metro Transit at 400 Snelling Avenue North in St. Paul. Metro Transit made the site available for the stadium through a long-term ground lease to the City of St. Paul. Work is underway to facilitate additional development surrounding the stadium, all of which will be served by the METRO Green Line, A Line rapid bus and local bus service.

More information is available on the City of St. Paul website.

METRO Blue Line and METRO Green Line extension projects

The TOD and Land Use staff at the METRO Blue Line and METRO Green Line extension project offices connect the design, engineering and construction efforts of the LRT alignment with each city and county’s planning, budget and policy development within the half-mile station areas. This collaborative, ongoing work fosters TOD along the project alignments and ensures that TOD projects will meet city land use approvals and be a financial success. It also increases ridership and revenues for the transit agency and fiscal and social benefits for the city and county.

More information on these projects can be found here:

Metropolitan Council METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT)

> Hennepin County Southwest LRT Community Works

> Metropolitan Council – METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau)

> Hennepin County Bottineau LRT Community Works