CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati streetcar is a work in progress, but already there are a lot of people buying in to its success.
Almost anywhere you go downtown Cincinnati, you will likely run into streetcar construction. It's a massive project, but some argue its impact is going to be pretty insignificant for most people.
"What they've done with that is help one specific section of the city with 3.6 mile streetcar," said Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes. "Which is fine, but it is very small in the grand scheme of things"
Rhodes said unless you own a property on the route, there isn't much of an economic benefit at all. However, a lot of real estate developers are buying into the idea and Rhodes says they will be the ones who benefit most.
Rhodes says his office doesn't specifically track streetcar route sales, but says they have picked up and there is no doubt that is from the streetcar construction.
He says for the majority of Cincinnati residents though, there will be no economic benefit, including tax revenues. That is because levies have already been set, and even if values go up, the levies would be reset so that the people holding them don't get any more money than voters approved.
"One of the biggest misconceptions is that all this development is going to move the values up and create more tax revenue. The truth is it is not," said Rhodes.
However, developers like Bobby Maly, COO of The Model Group, says there are other benefits.
The Model Group is currently working on rehabbing an entire city block along the streetcar route. Maly said the streetcar was not the driving factor to buy the properties at 1800 Race, but it did make them more attractive.
"What I'm hoping is that the streetcar helps folks or speeds it up," said Maly. "That people will not just be buying up buildings and sitting on them, like in the past, but they will buy them and redevelop them because the economics make more sense."
Maly says despite claims it's only real estate developers who are going to make money, he says the impact will be much greater. He says typically there is a 3 block rule when it comes to public transportation. That means properties on the main line and two streets over, will see revitalization, bringing more jobs and residents to the area.
While Maly and many others are banking on the success of the streetcar, they will have to wait to see if it pays off. The streetcar is set to open in 2016.