Truckee Railyard’s affordable housing project nears final vote |

Truckee Railyard’s affordable housing project nears final vote

A rendering of an aerial view of the Truckee Artist Lofts project.
Courtesy CFY Development |

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The entire Railyard development is planned just east of downtown. Visit" target="_blank">Bold"> for detailed plans, project history, maps and more.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — For more than 10 years, the town of Truckee and developers have been blueprinting plans to expand and invigorate the community by developing the Railyard site east of downtown.

With the property’s master plan originally approved in 2009, the much-delayed Railyard has been stalled for years due to a lawsuit that lasted two years, and the subsequent financial crisis of the Great Recession.

Seven years later, for the first time in the project’s history, there is a building on track for development.

Receiving a 4-1 vote of approval by the Truckee Planning Commission at its April 19 meeting, the Truckee Artist Lofts — a mixed-income/affordable housing project that’s part of the Railyard’s “Phase 1: Downtown Extension” — is moving forward to the town council.

Ali Youssefi, of CFY Development, Inc. — an affordable housing company partnering with Railyard developer Holliday Development on the lofts — and his team are scheduled to go before town council for approval of the requested land use application on Tuesday, May 10.

“We’re excited,” Youssefi said in a phone interview last week. “That was a big step in the process of getting this project started. We’re obviously grateful for the commission’s approval, and to be moving to the next step.”

The commissioners’ decision comes on the heels of their support of town staff’s recommendation to prioritize the Truckee Artist Lofts above all other Railyard developments.

The project was expedited due to the town eying a June 29, 2016, deadline to submit an application to the state of California for a 9 percent low-income housing tax credit for the lofts.

According to town staff, much of the $14 million in secured grant funding for the Railyard project is tied to the affordable housing development.

“Us being able to build affordable housing,” Youssefi said, “is a critical part of the Railyard development’s ability to get the infrastructure funding needed to start and build the project.”

The 121,000-square-foot Truckee Artist Lofts would rise four stories and include 77 apartments, including 66 affordable housing units restricted to households earning 30 percent to 60 percent of the area’s median income, according to town staff.

The rentals, which are income-based, would range from $402-$805 a month for studios; $431-$863 for one-bedrooms; $518-1,036 for two-bedrooms; and $598-$1,197 for three-bedrooms.

Notably, all 77 units would be available only to full-time residents and not for short-term vacation or nightly rentals.

Other spaces planned include a large courtyard on the second floor, a community center on the second and third floors, and a rooftop terrace on the top floor.

The ground floor would entail active retail spaces and “live-work” units — spaces that combine an artist’s workspace and living quarters.

Though the building is geared toward the artist community, anyone can apply to live in the building, Youssefi said.

“We envision a good number of the tenants in the building being involved in some type of artistic discipline, but that doesn’t mean they have to,” he added.

If approved by town council, the Truckee Artist Lofts building would be the first entitled development project within the Railyard Mixed-Use Development Master Plan area.

“I think our building, and the surrounding properties, are going to make a very unique neighborhood that is going to have its own style inspired by Truckee architecture and its downtown,” Youssefi said. “So I’m excited with where we’re at and I’m looking forward to the next step.”

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