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Examining the Cincinnati Streetcar's Impact on Real Estate Investment

A dive into the reach of the Cincinnati Bell Connector's influence on a revitalizing urban neighborhood.
December 31, 2016, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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City of Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Business Courier, led by Chris Wetterich and Tom Demeropolis, has published an analysis of the Cincinnati Streetcar, which is actually called the Cincinnati Bell Connector.

The streetcar opened in September following years of controversy, and made the news for the wrong reasons (poor service and sluggish ridership) earlier in December. At the end of the year of the Bell Connector's opning, Wetterich and Demeropolis analyze the real estate impact of the streetcar, recognizing opposing sides to a debate about the drivers of the ongoing revival of the city's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Streetcar opponents credit "the city’s generous tax incentive program (which is available in every city neighborhood)" or "the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. [bringing] urban redevelopment to a large scale." Streetcar supporters "want to attribute nearly everything good that has happened in downtown and Over-the-Rhine to the $148 million project."

Wetterich and Demeropolis inquired with building owners along the streetcar route who had pulled construction permits since 2012 (totaling $160 million in investment) to ask the question: "How much of a factor was the streetcar in your decision to build?" They didn't expect to find receive many straight answers, given the politicized nature of the project, but they were wrong. "Dozens of building owners, developers and lessees were willing to talk with us and be candid about whether the streetcar influenced their decision-making," writes Wetterich.

Unfortunately, the Business Courier's database of findings regarding the Bell Connector's investment impact remains locked by a subscriber paywall, but the free article previewing the work provides testimonials of six of the contacts the two spoke with in gathering the data for the analysis.

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Published on Friday, December 30, 2016 in Cincinnati Business Courier
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