Transit Transition to Real Estate

It’s no secret that public transit systems are not cash cows. Most are unprofitable, and the recent economic downturn has highlighted this fact. Public transit companies are looking to real estate to squeeze extra cash into their coffers.

As a migration into urban areas progresses, demand for public transportation has seen significant growth. Many people are looking to shed their car dependent lifestyles for a greener, cheaper, and increasingly more convenient way to get around. As a result, land in proximity to public transportation stations has seen tremendous growth in value. Uncoincidentally, public transit companies happen to own much of the property near stops and stations. In an effort to capitalize on this scenario, public transit companies are turning to real estate development. To put things in perspective, the Atlanta transit agency cleared nearly $7 million from its leases, accounting for it’s fifth largest source of revenue. Transit companies are looking for builders and developers to put income producing mixed use space on their valuable property, and help put themselves in the black.


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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