Economic Development

Earning and Saving with the Streetcar

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The most common misconceptions about the streetcar project involve concerns about return on the city’s $133 million investment. However, feasibility studies conducted by urban planning and risk assessment firms state that both the local economy and families can benefit financially from the streetcar.


Federal Transit Administration (FTA) research explains that households located in transit-oriented communities (within a half-mile to a mile of a fixed rail station) save an average of $250 per month or $3,000 per year per household in auto-related costs as compared to households in auto-oriented areas. These savings are associated with the ability to walk to a wider range of destinations and to transit access itself.


Benefits, costs, net present value, and benefit cost ratio were examined to calculate the risk of building a streetcar in Cincinnati. According to the Benefit-Cost Analysis conducted by HDR, a financial risk assessment company:

The value of total benefits for Cincinnati’s streetcar system is expected to be $430.9 million over 35 years between 2008 and 2042. Benefits are expected to exceed the total costs by $315.1 million. This represents a return on investment of 2.7 times, meaning for ever $1 that is invested, the streetcar will generate $2.70 for the City of Cincinnati.

The HDR analysis notes that there is a 90% probability that the Cincinnati streetcar will succeed.  Once operational, it will earn more money to be shared throughout the city’s 52 neighborhoods than the costs needed to build and operate the route. The Benefit-Cost Analysis results recommend that investing in streetcar system is economically worthwhile with minimal risk of economic failure.

Streetcar spurring “largest mixed-use development” in Portland’s history

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Those of you who have been to Portland have been able to see first-hand how transformative their modern streetcar system has been. Several neighborhoods have seen massive private investment as a result of the system’s various lines, and the latest extension east across the city’s river is now causing the same impact there.

Hassalo on Eighth, a $200M mixed-use development, is the largest in the city’s history and sits right on the streetcar line. It is located in a part of town called the Lloyd District, which has long been dominated by automobile-oriented buildings.

The new project has already torn down parking garages and will replace them with a 21-story tower, a 6-story structure and a 5-story building. Those three buildings will house 657 residential units and 58,000 square feet of commercial space. The project will also retrofit 240,000 square feet of existing commercial space.

Modern streetcar systems have the ability to be game changers if done right. Cincinnati’s will be no different.

Instead of investments being focused on cars (parking garages and travel speeds), they will be focused on people and how they move about their urban environment.

We may not see a massive $200M project like this along the first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar, but there is no doubt that a project like this will come along at some point. And that will just be the icing on the cake after all of the other private investments.

J. Hamman Prime steakhouse to open along phase one streetcar route

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J. Hamman PrimeIt seems like each day that goes by there is an announcement for yet another investment along the first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar. Now surely not all of this is just because of the streetcar, but certainly some of it is.

The latest piece of news, as reported by the Business Courier, is the new J. Hamman Prime steakhouse that will open at the southeast corner of 6th and Walnut streets. The restaurant will take the place of the former Oceanaire Seafood Room and Bartini Martini Lounge.

It is one of the first leases signed by Anderson Birkla Investment Partners as part of their $41 million project to redevelop the aging office tower into AT580 – a primarily residential tower with offices and street-level retail.

This is a prime location in the heart of the Backstage Entertainment District and just a block from Fountain Square. The site is also just a block away from Government Square and will be located within a block of three streetcar stops.

We hope you’re hungry!

906 Main Street to undergo $400,000 redevelopment, create 20 apartments

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While much economic development and private investment has been anticipated for Over-the-Rhine, Main Street through the Central Business District also poses a huge opportunity for growth along the phase one route of the Cincinnati Streetcar.

Not much has been discussed about Main Street to-date, but Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory announced last week that the City of Cincinnati approved a deal that will redevelop 906 and 908 Main Street.

906-908 Main Street
906-908 Main Street will undergo a $400k redevelopment.

The $400,000 redevelopment will create 20 apartments on the building’s upper floors, and will renovate the 92-year-old structure’s 6,705 square feet of street-level retail. The project will also be built to LEED certification standards.

On Monday, August 5, City Council approved an ordinance authorizing a 12-year tax exemption for 100% of the value of the improvements made to the property as part of this agreement.

Sitting at the northeast corner of 9th and Main Streets, the building has long housed B/G Diner, which is a staple among those working at the Hamilton County Courthouse. There is no word as to what will happen with the B/G Diner itself, but rumors indicate that the owners may be interested in moving on.

Main Street is one of the few streets through the Central Business District that still boasts its historic character, while also being the home of many long-time family businesses. It will be interesting to see what happens with all the structures along this stretch, as many have upper floors that are not utilized at the moment and could become residences or office space.

More growth. More progress.