Getting there is half the fun: Mass transit helps entertainment districts thrive

In Los Angeles, the entertainment district L.A. Live is expected to benefit from the proposed expansion of the city’s mass transit system.

September 25, 2017 |
KC Streetcar

Kansas City’s recent downtown economic boom can be attributed in part to the $850 million, nine-block Kansas City Power + Light District, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and KC Streetcar, a 2.2-mile light-rail system that opened in May 2016. City of Kansas City.

Entertainment district developers agree that ample parking and mass transit give entertainment districts an edge that can make or break a venue.

The newly opened Irving Music Factory in Texas struck an agreement with a nearby shopping plaza that gives the district access to 2,500 of the plaza’s 2,700 parking spaces after 5 p.m. There are also plans to extend the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Orange Line—which goes out to DFW airport—to include a station near the entertainment district.

“We believe this is going to emerge as a multi-region destination,” predicts Barry Hand, Principal and Studio Leader with Gensler, which designed the entertainment district.

Kansas City’s recent downtown economic boom can be attributed in part to KC Streetcar, a 2.2-mile light-rail system that opened in May 2016, and connects downtown’s north and south quadrants.

 

The top 40 development projects within the TDDThis map pinpoints more than $2 billion in real estate development. Courtesy CBRE.

 

In Los Angeles, the entertainment district L.A. Live, whose parking is woefully inadequate, is expected to benefit from the proposed expansion of the city’s mass transit system. The Blue Line, which connects downtown L.A. to Long Beach, would be linked with the Gold Line, which runs out to Pasadena. The city also passed a sales tax to extend the system’s Red Line to Beverly Hills.

The proposed University City district in Charlotte, N.C., would be about a quarter-mile from one of the new station stops of the city’s light-rail system that’s being expanded.

“University City is exciting because of the impact of light rail and its development opportunities,” says Ashley Clark, Associate AIA, LEED AP, Director of Strategic Development and Communications with Land Design, an AE firm working on the project.

The district would be close to UNC Charlotte and the city’s Research Park. “The vision is for the entertainment district to provide a sense of place, with the transit as its gateway,” says Clark.

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