Dallas to Houston Bullet Train Could Attract More Tenants
High-speed trains poised to link Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston are coming closer to fruition and 2021 doesn’t seem that far away. The idea of a 90-minute bullet train trip between the metros is appealing to Downtown landlords.
Colvill Office Properties president Chip Colvill tells us the traffic congestion on highways shows a need for a high-speed train. Texas highways are all heavily populated with trucks and passenger vehicles. A mass transit option like the train could cut traffic, reducing air pollution and improving the safety of travel. Although, Chip says, there are many intangibles that must be factored in when looking at the feasibility. But, look at Southwest Airlines; the company has flights between Houston and Dallas every 30 minutes to an hour, every day. Chip says he doesn’t see the rail replacing Southwest, but believes rail provides another option that would increase overall commuting between Houston and Dallas.
With Houston's port and Dallas' regional airport advantage, this would link the best of the best in our region and make Texas an even greater world destination for business, Chip says. The economies of Houston and Dallas are somewhat different, but complementary, so this would be of business benefit to both Metros. Plus, there are many companies—like Colvill—that do business regularly in both regions. Chip says he anticipates the rail service having a significant beneficial impact on Downtown Dallas. Colvill currently handles the leasing of 1M SF in Downtown Dallas and over the past 18 months has experienced a significant uptick in leasing activity. However, the southern end of Downtown Dallas is continuing to improve and depending upon where the railhead is located, a train station could significantly benefit Downtown, particularly the real estate adjacent to it. For example, many regional and international law firms would be highly attracted to office near the rail line in the event they conduct business in both Houston and Dallas leading to increased office demand in those areas.
Texas Central Partners is the firm working to deliver a new high-speed passenger rail system that will connect Dallas and Houston in less than 90 minutes. The Texas-based private company is backed by private investors, not public funds. Current plans call for trains to run every 30 minutes during peak hours and every hour during off-peak times, with six hours reserved each night for maintenance and inspection of the system. Currently, the Federal Railroad Administration is working on the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement of the bullet train, a TCP spokeswoman tells us. This environmental review will determine the project timeline and final route. Based on the milestones reached to date, TCP is approximately halfway through the environmental review process and anticipate beginning construction in 2017 with service beginning in 2021, she tells us.