Green Line construction didn't scare businesses from Central Corridor -- quite the opposite

Photos via Laura Baenen
The Episcopal Homes development on the former Porky's Drive-In site is one of many new construction projects along the Green Line.
One of the arguments rail haters made when LRT line being seriously discussed for University Avenue was that construction itself would kill local businesses.

With University ripped up for years, parking would be hard to find, and customers would forsake the Central Corridor in favor of more accessible places, the theory went. But numbers provided to us by the Metropolitan Council indicate that's not at all how it played out in reality.

See also:
Anti-LRT protest on Green Line's opening day was a bust

According to those numbers, from February 2011 to December 2013 -- in other words, the period during which the Green Line was being built (heavy construction ended in late 2012) -- 90 businesses closed on the corridor. But that pales in comparison to the 128 that opened.

Furthermore, while 27 businesses moved out of the corridor, 25 moved within it.

In sum, LRT construction didn't destroy the Central Corridor's business community -- quite the opposite. And with the Green Line barely up and running, Metro Transit says its already attracted $2.5 billion work of new construction and redevelopment in the area. (Metro Transit's claim is arguable -- read this Twin Cities Business report for more on that.)

What the Episcopal Homes site looked like pre-Green Line.

Asked to explain the numbers, Laura Baenen, communications manager for the Met Council, cites the nearly $16 million in various forms of business assistance the Met Council and its partners provided to businesses to help them survive during the construction period.

(For more, click to page two.)

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