Developing TOD in America: The Private Sector View
Despite much excitement for TOD, the market reality is that TOD is just beginning to gather momentum in the United States. Mixed-use precincts around transit stations are being touted by planners but built examples are still a novelty outside of older, well-established transit cities like New York, Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia. While the public sector has made major investments in transit systems and station area plans, it actually falls to private sector developers to implement and build these vibrant districts. And most developers still see TOD as too new and too risky. Of all the players essential to produce TODs, the private sector developers may be the least understood. Through their lens this chapter will examine why quality transit villages are happening more slowly than hoped, and why the quality of what is built is often less than the community envisioned. This chapter begins by discussing the demographic and market support for TODs in the United States, looks at requirements for successful TODs, examines the developer’s risk-return trade-off, describes the developers best suited for TOD, introduces public-private partnerships, and projects future trends of TOD in America.