Streetcar Economic Impact Update
& Market Analysis
Prepared for:
VIA Metropolitan Transit

Prepared by:
Steve Nivin, Ph.D.
SABÉR Institute
Eric Hovee
E. D. Hovee & Co., LLC
Jay Farwell
The Gardner Law Firm
In Cooperation With:
IDC - Planners, Engineers,
Program Managers

June 30, 2014

E. D. Hovee
& Company, LLC
vlA MeLropollLan 1ranslL reLalned Lhe luC Leam Lo conducL an economlc lmpacL updaLe and
markeL analysls for Lhe now selecLed Locally Þreferred AlLernaLlve (LÞA) for a sLreeLcar
allgnmenL LhaL wlll serve downLown San AnLonlo. 1he SA8L8 lnsLlLuLe LogeLher wlLh 1he
Cardner Law llrm and L. u. Povee & Company, LLC led Lhe efforL as parL of LhaL Leam. 1hls
analysls represenLs an updaLe Lo a prevlous 2011 economlc lmpacL reporL conducLed for four
norLh-souLh and four easL-wesL poLenLlal sLreeLcar allgnmenL alLernaLlves.
1he LÞA lncludes many of Lhe norLh-
souLh (nS) and easL-wesL (LW) rouLlng
componenLs. 1he nS splne lnvolves
use of porLlons of 8roadway, navarro
and SL Mary's. An easL-wesL clrculaLor
lnvolves segmenLs along MarLln-
Þecan, lrlo, Commerce-MarkeL, and
Whlle Lhls lnlLlal sysLem may be bullL
ln phases, Lhls updaLe analysls
provldes an analysls of poLenLlal
LranslL orlenLed developmenL (1Cu)
LhaL could be expecLed, over a
LwenLy-flve year perlod aL full bulld-
ouL of Lhe LÞA.
1hree alLernaLlve developmenL
scenarlos were consldered wlLh Lhls
LÞA assessmenL:
• !"#$%&'( - reflecLlng
developmenL reasonably
anLlclpaLed !"#$%&'$ )$*++$,-*.
• $)*+'&,+ ./+,)0&" - deplcLlng a
/#0#/'/ 1+2+1 of developmenL
ºwlLh sLreeLcar"
• 1//+'+0)2+( ./+,)0&" - as a
/-3#/'/ 4+2+1&5/+0$ scenarlo
ºwlLh sLreeLcar"
A *20++2/)0 30+4&%4 ls calculaLed as
a mlnlmum expecLaLlon of
developmenL Lo be reallzed wlLh a
Figure 1. Streetcar LPA Impact Study Area

Source: 8CAu, vlA, L. u. Povee & Company, LLC.
basellne scenarlo wlLh sLreeLcar versus a no-bulld scenarlo wlLhouL
Þrlmary beneflLs are expecLed Lo occur wlLhln abouL Lwo blocks on
+#$%+* )#4+ of Lhe selecLed sLreeLcar allgnmenL. CuLpuLs of Lhls
analysls lnclude anLlclpaLed levels of resldenLlal and commerclal
developmenL, valuaLlon, dlrecL economlc and mulLlpller lmpacLs,
and flscal effecLs ln Lerms of added properLy and sales Lax
A 23-year Llme frame exLendlng from 2013-40 ls consldered across
all of Lhe forecasL scenarlos. 1he evaluaLlon meLhodology applled
wlLh Lhls updaLe process ls conducLed conslsLenL wlLh Lhe
approach Laken ln Lhe earller 2011 alLernaLlves analysls.
WhaL follows ls a summary of ma[or observaLlons and flndlngs
from Lhls economlc lmpacL updaLe. 1oplcs covered lnclude a
llLeraLure revlew of sLreeLcar and 1Cu experlence across Lhe u.S.,
sLakeholder perspecLlves, local markeL conLexL, corrldor
developmenL scenarlos, and poLenLlal economlc lmpacLs.
As ls Lhe case ln San AnLonlo, sLreeLcars played a plvoLal role ln
shaplng Lhe early hlsLory of clLles and LranslL orlenLed
developmenL (1Cu) across Lhe u.S. LvenLually, mosL sysLems were
replaced by auLo and bus LranslL - wlLh Lhe excepLlon of a handful
of legacy sysLems ln clLles llke new Crleans, San lranclsco and
SLreeLcars are now belng successfully re-lnLroduced ln varled
urban seLLlngs across Lhe u.S. As of 2013, Lhere were 26 exlsLlng
herlLage and modern sLreeLcar sysLems operaLlng ln Lhe unlLed
SLaLes and Canada. AnoLher flve clLles have been under
consLrucLlon wlLh new sysLems openlng ln 2013-14 - and close Lo
90 clLles are plannlng new sLreeLcar sysLems (lncludlng San
ConsequenLly, Lhere ls now emerglng documenLaLlon abouL Lhe
1Cu lmpacLs experlenced by clLles LhaL have consLrucLed new
modern sysLems. 1he mosL compleLe posL-sLreeLcar emplrlcal
documenLaLlon has been conducLed for 1ampa, SeaLLle and
Streetcars & TOD
“Almost every U.S.
city once had an
extensive streetcar
system, which
extended the
environment out into
the neighborhoods,
served as a collector
for intercity rail
systems, and stopped
at every street corner
to stimulate a density
and an intensity of
development that
made for an
exemplary and
If the high cost of
providing parking
drives development
today, streetcars
make it possible for
developers to
provide less parking
and put their money
into high quality
design, building
materials and
community benefits
like affordable
housing and parks.
Streetcars also
enable residents to
give up a car –
freeing up a
substantial amount of
money for other
- From Gloria Ohland
& Shelley Poticha,
Street Smart:
Streetcars and
Cities in the Twenty-
First Century

As noLed by Lhe naLlonally recognlzed 8rooklngs lnsLlLuLlon, a ma[or beneflL of Lhese sLreeLcar
pro[ecLs has been Lhe ºablllLy Lo connecL places LhaL were noL connecLed before." ÞroperLy
values have lncreased - ofLen dramaLlcally - when compared wlLh clLywlde lncreases. 1hls ls
especlally Lhe case when Lhere ls slgnlflcanL vacanL and/or underuLlllzed properLy wlLhln close
proxlmlLy Lo where sLreeLcar servlces are lmplemenLed.
8esldenLlal developmenL has been a conslsLenL beneflclary of sLreeLcar lnvesLmenL. ClLles such
as SeaLLle have seen remarkable resulLs wlLh added offlce employmenL, and sLreeLcar has
faclllLaLed added Lourlsm developmenL ln 1ampa. Whlle less deLalled sLaLlsLlcal analysls has
been conducLed for oLher clLles Lo daLe, early anecdoLal lnformaLlon lndlcaLes poslLlve 1Cu
ouLcomes ln oLher clLles such as uallas, Memphls, 1ucson, and even smaller communlLles llke
kenosha, Wlsconsln.
uurlng Lhe lnlLlal 2011 analysls, LwenLy lnLervlews were conducLed wlLh boLh publlc and prlvaLe
secLor sLakeholders wlLh acLlve lnLeresL ln downLown San AnLonlo developmenL. AL Lhe Llme,
general Lhough cauLlous supporL was expressed for sLreeLcar. Powever, Lhere was recognlLlon
LhaL º[usL havlng Lhe permanence of Lhe Lracks wlLh Lhe sLreeLcars runnlng on Lhem wlll
encourage developmenL."
WlLh Lhls updaLe focus on a slngle LÞA allgnmenL, a more llmlLed seL of lnLervlews were
conducLed wlLh a half-dozen lndlvlduals acLlve ln core area developmenL. All of Lhose recenLly
lnLervlewed share Lhe vlewpolnL LhaL sLreeLcar wlll have a poslLlve lmpacL on San AnLonlo.
lL ls worLh noLlng LhaL awareness abouL sLreeLcar and Lhe poLenLlal economlc lmpacLs has
lncreased slnce Lhe 2011 dlscusslons. ConLlnued developmenL of Lhe cenLral clLy lnLo a
llve/work/play communlLy ls vlewed as vlLal Lo aLLracLlng and reLalnlng young, educaLed
workers. Comblned wlLh oLher acLlvlLles, sLreeLcar wlll be a caLalysL for downLown
developmenL. SLreeLcar can also be expecLed Lo affecL Lhe scale and Llmlng of some
AlLhough resldenLlal and mlxed-use developmenL ls expecLed Lo recelve Lhe largesL boosL from
sLreeLcar, commerclal opporLunlLles are expecLed Lo lncrease as well. MulLlple areas along Lhe
allgnmenL are expecLed Lo beneflL - lncludlng 8lver norLh, Lhe WesLslde across l-10, SouLhLown,
and core area lnflll developmenL.
1he properLles slLuaLed ln Lhe LÞA sLudy area are wlLhln Lwo blocks on elLher slde of Lhe
sLreeLcar allgnmenL encompass a LoLal of approxlmaLely 800 acres. !usL over 490 acres are
slLuaLed wlLhln 1-block ln whaL ls Lermed Zone A, geographlcally mosL proxlmaLe Lo Lhe
sLreeLcar allgnmenL and Lherefore recelvlng Lhe greaLesL 1Cu opporLunlLy. Added developmenL
poLenLlal ls noLed for Zone 8 properLles generally slLuaLed 1-2 blocks from Lhe allgnmenL:
• As of 2013, Lhe lmpacL sLudy area has nearly 18.3 mllllon square feeL of exlsLlng bulldlng
lnvenLory. AbouL 80° ls comprlsed of commerclal bulldlng space, wlLh Lax exempL
sLrucLures aL 12° and resldenLlal aL 7° of Lhe LoLal.
• LxlsLlng denslLy of developmenL ls relaLlvely low, aL an average floor area raLlo (lA8) of
0.33 - meanlng LhaL bulldlng square fooLage comprlses [usL sllghLly over half of slLe area.
Powever, posL-2000 developmenL has occurred aL more Lhan double Lhe denslLy of pre-
2000 bulldlngs, lndlcaLlng conLlnued opporLunlLy for greaLer lnLenslLy of Lhe urban
• 1oLal currenL 8exar CounLy assessed valuaLlon of LÞA sLudy area properLles approaches
$1.8 bllllon wlLh Laxable valuaLlon (excludlng exempL properLles) aL $1.4 bllllon.
• lrom 2000-12, abouL 193,000 square feeL per year of new bulldlng developmenL has
occurred wlLhln Lhe lmpacL area - for an average annuallzed lncrease of 1.2° Lo Lhe pre-
2000 exlsLlng lnvenLory.
• AbouL half of Lhe new developmenL has occurred wlLh commerclal use, resldenLlal ls
already accounLlng for an lncreaslng share of developmenL acLlvlLy. Cver Lhree quarLers
of LÞA sLudy area developmenL from 2000-12 has occurred wlLh Zone A properLles. 1hls
pace of Zone A developmenL has been movlng forward even before sLreeLcar
consLrucLlon has been fully commlLLed and lnlLlaLed.
• !usL under one quarLer (24°) of land area comprlses properLles LhaL are Laxable and
have lmprovemenLs values LhaL are 30° or less LhaL of land value - represenLlng Lhe
besL opporLunlLles for new developmenL ln Lhe years ahead.
1he selecLed LÞA allgnmenL wlll serve an area LhaL has already been recelvlng lnvesLmenL
lnLeresL. 8uL lL sLlll has subsLanLlal underdeveloped properLy for addlLlonal resldenLlal and
commerclal developmenL aL denslLles more supporLlve of a vlbranL urban communlLy. As has
occurred over Lhe lasL Lwo decades ln oLher clLles, sLreeLcar can provlde one source of added
lmpeLus Lo an already resurgenL markeL envlronmenL for mlxed-use, pedesLrlan-orlenLed
developmenL. ln San AnLonlo, Lhls urban developmenL wlll beneflL boLh Lhe esLabllshed
downLown core and ad[olnlng mlxed-use nelghborhood dlsLrlcLs lncludlng 8lver norLh.
uevelopmenL scenarlos for Lhe LÞA area have been prepared ln a manner conslsLenL wlLh prlor
analysls for alLernaLlve allgnmenLs belng consldered as of 2011. 1hls analyLlcal meLhodology has
been adapLed Lo Lhe 2-block wlde lmpacL geography on elLher slde of Lhe now selecLed
sLreeLcar LÞA allgnmenL.
luLure developmenL ls expecLed Lo reflecL recenL developmenL Lrends slnce abouL 2000. 1hls
wlll reflecL a compleLe economlc cycle ad[usLed for updaLed reglonal 8exar CounLy growLh
expecLaLlons. CounLywlde populaLlon ls pro[ecLed Lo lncrease from 1.7 mllllon resldenLs as of
Lhe 2010 census Lo over 2.8 mllllon by 2040. LmploymenL ls pro[ecLed Lo lncrease from 0.8
mllllon Lo beLween 1.4-1.3 mllllon over Lhls same Llme perlod.
Þro[ecLlons assoclaLed wlLh each of
Lhree developmenL scenarlos for
Lhe sLreeLcar LÞA beneflL area over
Lhe 2013-40 Llme perlod are
summarlzed as follows:
• under a ,"#5%&'( */+,)0&"
(wlLhouL sLreeLcar), nearly
3.3 mllllon square feeL of
developmenL ls pro[ecLed,
represenLlng a 30°
addlLlon Lo Lhe exlsLlng
bulldlng lnvenLory ln Lhe
lmpacL sLudy area.
Assessed valuaLlon wlLhln
Lhe lmpacL area lncreases
by close Lo $300 mllllon (as
esLlmaLed ln 2013 dollars).
• WlLh Lhe 5)*+'&,+ */+,)0&"
(wlLh sLreeLcar), an
esLlmaLed 12.3 mllllon
square feeL of new
developmenL ls forecasL
over 23 years, for a 68°
lncrease ln exlsLlng bulldlng
space wlLhln Lhe LÞA
lmpacL area. Assessed
valuaLlon lncreases by $1.4
• under a more aggresslve
)//+'+0)2+( */+,)0&" (also
wlLh sLreeLcar),
developmenL could
lncrease by as much as 19.6
Figure 2. LPA Development Scenarios (25 Years)
Added Building Development (Sq. Ft.)

Added Assessed Valuation

Source: 8CAu, vlA, L. u. Povee & Company, LLC.
mllllon square feeL, doubllng Lhe bulldlng lnvenLory wlLhln Lhe LÞA lmpacL area over Lhe
nexL 23 years. Assessed valuaLlon lncreases by over $2.3 bllllon. 1hls lncrease more Lhan
doubles Lhe assessed valuaLlon of Lhe LÞA lmpacL area and reflecLs boLh new
consLrucLlon and Lhe lncreased per square fooL value of hlgher denslLy consLrucLlon.
WlLh Lhls updaLed assessmenL, a *20++2/)0 30+4&%4 ls conservaLlvely deflned as Lhe mlnlmum
expecLaLlon of added developmenL wlLh Lhe basellne scenarlo /#0') whaL ls forecasL under no-
bulld (wlLhouL sLreeLcar) condlLlons. 1he premlum equaLes Lo an added 7 mllllon square feeL of
LÞA lmpacL area developmenL and close Lo $900 mllllon ln assessed value above whaL ls
pro[ecLed wlLh a no-bulld scenarlo.
ln effecL, Lhe 1Cu posslble wlLh sLreeLcar under basellne condlLlons could serve Lo leverage
more Lhan Lwlce Lhe added developmenL and close Lo Lhree Llmes Lhe lncreased valuaLlon as
would be anLlclpaLed wlLhln Lhe LÞA lmpacL area wlLhouL Lhls LranslL lnvesLmenL. WlLh
acceleraLed developmenL, Lhe effecLlve sLreeLcar premlum could lncrease Lo as much as 3-4
Llmes Lhe added developmenL and 4-3 Llmes Lhe lncreased valuaLlon as would be anLlclpaLed
wlLhln Lhe LÞA lmpacL area under no-bulld condlLlons (wlLhouL Lhls LranslL lnvesLmenL).
1here ls a markeL shlfL now underway Loward a greaLer mlx of resldenLlal developmenL, whlch
ls expecLed Lo conLlnue. 1hls shlfL ls expecLed Lo become even more pronounced pursuanL Lo
Lhe ºwlLh sLreeLcar" developmenL scenarlos as has occurred ln oLher clLles wlLh sLreeLcar 1Cu
experlence. Commerclal and Lax exempL developmenL ls also expecLed Lo be greaLer ln Lhe
ºwlLh sLreeLcar" scenarlos Lhan wlLh Lhe no-bulld scenarlo.
Lconomlc lmpacLs have been evaluaLed from Lhe dlsLlncL, buL relaLed, perspecLlves of added
houslng and employmenL, economlc mulLlpller effecLs, and local governmenL flscal lmpacLs. 1he
focus of Lhls analysls ls on Lhe *20++2/)0 30+4&%4 - Lhe added poLenLlal mlnlmum level of
beneflL under basellne scenarlo (wlLh sLreeLcar) as compared wlLh Lhe no-bulld (wlLhouL
sLreeLcar) scenarlo.
Lconomlc lmpacL numbers are derlved from Lhls esLlmaLe of ºsLreeLcar premlum," whlch
measures Lhe developmenL wlLhln an approxlmaLe 2-block dlsLance on each slde of Lhe
sLreeLcar llne LhaL reasonably can be aLLrlbuLed, Lo some exLenL, Lo Lhe presence of sLreeLcar.
1o calculaLe Lhe sLreeLcar premlum, Lhree dlfferenL developmenL scenarlos were pro[ecLed:
67 !"#$%&'( ./+,)0&" - capLurlng Lhe developmenL ln Lhe area assumlng LhaL sLreeLcar ls
noL lnsLalled
87 $)*+'&,+ */+,)0&" -- whlch assumes sLreeLcar lnsLallaLlon and a mldpolnL of
developmenL beLween Lhe no-bulld and acceleraLed scenarlos
97 1//+'+0)2+( */+,)0&" -- assumlng sLreeLcar lnsLallaLlon and Lhe besL posslble case for
A *20++2/)0 30+4&%4 mlghL be calculaLed as elLher Lhe dlfference beLween Lhe no-bulld and
basellne scenarlos or Lhe no-bulld and acceleraLed scenarlos. 1he numbers provlded here and
LhroughouL Lhls reporL are based on a sLreeLcar premlum derlved from Lhe more conservaLlve
basellne scenarlo.
1here may be many facLors LhaL conLrlbuLe Lo Lhe developmenL along Lhe sLreeLcar llnes, buL
Lhe presence of Lhe sLreeLcar plays a key role ln faclllLaLlng Lhls developmenL by elLher
acceleraLlng or provldlng a sLrong lncenLlve for Lhe developmenL or redevelopmenL of a
properLy. As descrlbed ln a prellmlnary evaluaLlon of Lhe poLenLlal lmpacL of sLreeLcar along
alLernaLlve San AnLonlo sLreeL corrldors ln 2011, Lhe ºlnLroducLlon of sLreeLcar presenLs
subsLanLlal opporLunlLy Lo leverage new developmenL LhaL would oLherwlse noL occur."
1ranslL lnvesLmenL alone does noL assure Lhls beneflclal ouLcome. As has been experlenced
elsewhere ln Lhe u.S., reallzaLlon of Lhe full economlc developmenL poLenLlal assoclaLed wlLh
sLreeLcar also depends on supporLlve publlc-prlvaLe lnlLlaLlve Lo creaLe corrldor amenlLy value -
a walkable urban envlronmenL offerlng Lhe sense of scale and crlLlcal mass LhaL draws lnvesLor,
buslness LenanL and resldenLlal lnLeresL.
1he opporLunlLy for LranslL supporLlve developmenL caLalyzed by sLreeLcar ls furLher supporLed
• ulscusslons wlLh local developers and oLher lnLeresLed parLles who have lnLlmaLe
knowledge of developmenL paLLerns ln Lhe area and how Lhe presence of sLreeLcar
mlghL affecL developmenL ln Lhe area.
o 8ecognlLlon among many of Lhose lnLervlewed LhaL º[usL havlng Lhe
permanence of Lhe Lracks wlLh Lhe sLreeLcars runnlng on Lhem wlll encourage
• knowledge of Lhe effecLs LhaL sLreeLcar had on developmenL ln oLher clLles such as
ÞorLland, SeaLLle and 1ampa.
o A sLudy by Lhe 8rooklngs lnsLlLuLlon on Lhe lmpacLs of sLreeLcar noLes LhaL a
ma[or beneflL of sLreeLcar ls lLs ºablllLy Lo connecL places LhaL were noL
connecLed before," such LhaL ln effecL, ºLhe sLreeLcar became Lhe connecLlve
Llssue and organlzlng prlnclple for growLh ln an area."
1he followlng polnLs summarlze Lhe lmpacLs of Lhe full LÞA wlLh $280 mllllon ln caplLal
expendlLures and assumlng Lhe more conservaLlve sLreeLcar premlum based on Lhe basellne
scenarlo of developmenL.
• 7 mllllon square feeL of ,+: (+;+'"34+,2 wlLh a Laxable value of $736 mllllon.
• Cver 3,000 new 0+*&(+,2&)' %,&2*.
• AL full developmenL, Lhe new buslnesses ln Lhe area wlll supporL +43'"<4+,2 of abouL
8,300 full-Llme equlvalenL poslLlons earnlng wages and beneflLs esLlmaLed aL $387
mllllon, lncludlng mulLlpller effecLs.
• 1he +/","4&/ &43)/2 from Lhe operaLlons of Lhese buslnesses wlll be $1.3 bllllon.
• =",*20%/2&", "> 2?+ ,+: (+;+'"34+,2 wlll supporL almosL 14,000 [obs wlLh wages and
beneflLs golng Lo Lhese workers of abouL $704 mllllon. 1he overall lmpacL of Lhe
consLrucLlon acLlvlLy wlll come Lo abouL $1.8 bllllon.
• =",*20%/2&", "> 2?+ *20++2/)0 lLself wlll supporL employmenL of over 4,080 [obs wlLh
lncomes and beneflLs of $206 mllllon and an lmpacL of $489 mllllon Lo Lhe reglonal
• =%4%')2&;+ 2)@+* generaLed from Lhe new developmenL wlll lnclude abouL $263 mllllon
ln added properLy Laxes. 1he cumulaLlve sales Lax revenues from Lhe operaLlons of Lhe
new buslnesses along Lhe sLreeLcar llne wlll be nearly $33 mllllon and Lhe sales Laxes
generaLed from Lhe consLrucLlon of Lhe new developmenL wlll be abouL $4 mllllon.
ln summary, sLreeLcar 1Cu poLenLlally may affecL boLh where developmenL occurs wlLhln Lhe
San AnLonlo meLro area and Lhe LoLal level of reglonal acLlvlLy - Lo Lhe exLenL LhaL a more
llvable urban envlronmenL mlghL lnfluence Lhe reglon's compeLlLlve poslLlon relaLlve Lo oLher
locaLlons naLlonally and globally. Powever, Lhls sLudy does noL alm Lo quanLlfy wheLher or Lo
whaL exLenL sLreeLcar lnvesLmenL affecLs neL reglonal economlc growLh.
lor aL leasL Lhe near-Lerm, much of Lhe developmenL acLlvlLy can be expecLed Lo occur close Lo
Lhe sLreeLcar allgnmenL and ln places LhaL are already provlng aLLracLlve Lo prlvaLe and publlc
lnvesLmenL. LaLer ln Lhe forecasL perlod, more of Lhe developmenL wlll begln Lo mlgraLe ouL
from Lhese prlme locaLlons Lo porLlons of Lhe corrldor lmpacL area LhaL have remalnlng
underdeveloped land or whlch may have recelved less lnvesLmenL aLLenLlon Lo daLe. 1hls ls
parLlcularly Lhe case where Lhere are large properLy holdlngs - wheLher currenLly vacanL or
parLlally developed.
1he degree Lo whlch sLreeLcar 1Cu occurs aL basellne or acceleraLed levels wlll be affecLed by a
number of facLors lncludlng naLlonal and reglonal economlc Lrends, real esLaLe flnanclng
avallablllLy for mlxed-use developmenL, local culLure for ploneerlng real esLaLe pro[ecLs, and
supporLlve publlc lnfrasLrucLure lnvesLmenLs. 8eallzaLlon of Lhe acceleraLed scenarlo can besL
be faclllLaLed by conLlnued San AnLonlo redevelopmenL plannlng and acLlve publlc-prlvaLe
parLnershlps, lncludlng conLlnued avallablllLy of approprlaLe redevelopmenL lncenLlves.

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