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.