Finding Railyard’s fit in downtown Truckee |

Finding Railyard’s fit in downtown Truckee

Downtown business owners met with Railyard developers Friday to discuss how the new project will fit into Truckee’s commercial core.

The entire 62-acre project site east of Commercial Row will be divided into “character areas.” The first will be the “Downtown Main Street Zone,” an extension of the downtown core that may include a hotel and movie theater.

President Rick Holliday of Holliday Development, the Railyard’s developer, said he envisions the “downtown main street zone” containing more service-based businesses that would not directly compete with downtown retailers.

“It’s desirable in downtown to have non-retail businesses, just not on the main street, so we may meet that need,” Holliday said.

He said the first two blocks of the project extending from downtown will contain a theater, a hotel, residential units and roughly 10 percent retail space.

Holliday said that starting with service-type businesses in area that could later accommodate retail would best complement the existing downtown.

“In our opinion a healthy downtown is critical,” Holliday said.

When asked about the type of retailer he would like to see in the Railyard development, Holliday said a Trader Joe’s-type market would fit well, but said that particular market’s management is still reluctant to open in what they consider a second-home market.

Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, said she was generally impressed by the Railyard concepts.

“I think this will complement downtown and help downtown’s viability,” Olivieri said. “There will be competitors for downtown businesses but it will be good competition. It doesn’t hurt, it enhances.”

While not in favor of chain stores in downtown Truckee, Olivieri said she would like to see a market with similar character to a Trader Joe’s to serve the new residential portion of the Railyard project.

Olivieri said she is also in favor of adding a hotel.

“I am pretty excited about the possibility of a hotel; we need more and more hotels in the downtown area,” she said. “The more we have the more people will look at downtown as a place to come and stay.”

Holliday said the hotel may emulate in style the Hotel Healdsburg, a wine country hotel in a historic community that he said has a similar character to Truckee.

Other planned phases beyond the downtown extension call for a warehouse district and a Trout Creek neighborhood, including open space, a civic building, and “event streets” that could be closed for public activities.

As the Railyard project moves forward, Holliday said he expects three or four public meetings in the next four to five months, including a joint meeting between town council and the planning commission.

“We’re not going to run and hide from anybody; we don’t want to do something people don’t want,” Holliday said.

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