MBJ: ‘Transit-oriented development’ rolls into Memphis with Central Station project
Investment in public transit typically has a return on investment of 4 to 1, said interim MATA CEO Gary Rosenfeld. For every $1 a city invests in public transit, it gets $4 back in economic development, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
Since Denver voters approved a multibillion-dollar transit expansion plan in 2004, Colorado’s Regional Transportation District, which provides public bus and rail transportation to Denver, Boulder and surrounding cities, has seen a tremendous amount of economic development revolving around public transit, Rosenfeld said.
MATA owns the 17-acre train station and is developing a walkway that will connect the bus, trolley and Amtrak transportation; the private sector is adding residential apartment units, a boutique hotel by Kemmons Wilson Cos., eateries and a movie theater by Malco Theatres Inc.
While other Amtrak stations across the country are bustling with food, beverage and retail options, Memphis’ station has become known as strictly a pick up and drop off point.
“Amtrak does a fantastic job marketing across the country and to international travelers for visitation to Memphis and New Orleans. It’s a great corridor for tourism and, for the past many months, the train has been operating at full capacity,” Rosenfeld said. “Amtrak passengers will have an even better experience once we have something for them to do while waiting. It’s a good, solid transit-oriented development, which is what our community needs.”