Subways are very expensive to build. Tunneling costs around $250 million per mile and stations cost around $200 million a piece. However, subways dramatically increase accessibility (and land value) within a quarter mile of stations. Putting the station next to underutilized land will create future development pressures.
What might happen if the Century City subway stop was located at Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars instead of the current center of Century City at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars?
The Los Angeles Country Club, to the north of Santa Monica Blvd, has 36 holes. The holes are split into a North Course (north of Wilshire) and a South Course (between Wilshire and Santa Monica). The LACC could reconfigure the South Course to 9 holes and sell the roughly 50 acres that will be within a quarter mile of the Subway Station for development.
Last week the old 8-acre Robinsons May property next to the site sold for $148.3 million, or about $18.5 million per acre. (incidentally, back in 2007, it sold for $500 million, or $62.5 million per acre). With a subway station, a healthier real estate market, and City of Los Angeles Zoning policies, and inflation the site could probably once again sell for $60 million per acre in 2020 after the subway opens. The Country Club (owned by its members) would get $3 billion , a pretty healthy sum considering 27 of the 36 holes will still be open for play.
Here's what Century City looks like today:
Here's what Century City might look like in 2050 with the Purple line on Santa Monica Blvd and half of the South Course developed.
With the station at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars, the golf course is more than a quarter mile away and won't have the same development pressures. Here's what Century City might look like in that case:
The point is that in 40 years, the Metro Westside Extension Purple Line stop will be in the heart of Century City, regardless of whether it's built at Constellation or Santa Monica. Those in Beverly Hills opposed to having tunnels under their homes today should consider the future effect of a second Century City with little or no roadway capacity increases.
I believe that the subway should be sited at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars. The point of this post is to illustrate that placing the subway station will have consequences for the future of Century City. Short-sighted and predominantly unfounded arguments that a subway should not be placed under homes will have long-term consequences that will likely increase traffic on residential streets in Beverly Hills.