Real Estate Is Still About Location, Location, Location

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 30, 2010

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Not So Hot TODs” [News, Nov. 26]: I am a developer in Austin, and there is no surprise that only TODs like Central Expressway and Mockingbird in Dallas do well. The reason is they would do well in that location even without a train. Real estate is still about location, location, location!
    While I love the idea of a city giving me incentives to build, I need decent market demand and TODs across the country only work when smoke and mirrors and lots of city money allow tenants to stay there almost for free. When the incentives and free rent go away, so will the tenants.
    I would find it funny if it wasn't so expensive when the train supporters say that the reason it doesn't work is there isn't enough of it. Build more and it will work? BS. We desperately need to address better roads for the 98% of us that will continue to use our vehicles to get around. All around the country, they have tried to force us out of cars, but they have failed miserably. Only by cooking the books can most rail systems say they are helping with congestion.
    Hopefully we will wise up and not go one step further and try to implement an urban rail system. Businesses mostly fail along the rail routes during the construction period. Think of who we would lose along Barton Springs Road, North Lamar, South Congress, etc. Rapid bus transit will accomplish the same thing at close to 10% of the costs of fixed rail but then the big engineering firms wouldn’t be able to make millions in fees.
John Lewis
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