Truckee Railyard developers give previews of theater, artists lofts | SierraSun.com

Truckee Railyard developers give previews of theater, artists lofts

TRUCKEE, Calif. — While an exact groundbreaking date remains uncertain, the Truckee Railyard project is gaining traction heading into 2016.

At the Truckee Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, council members unanimously agreed to make the much-delayed project a first priority.

"It's something that we've been waiting for and wanting for a very long time," said newly appointed Truckee Mayor Joan deRyk Jones. "I'm willing to put a bunch of things aside in order to make this a true root in our community, and see us get a shovel in the ground."

Originally approved in 2009, the Railyard has been stalled for years due to a lawsuit that lasted two years, and the subsequent economic downslide.

“We’re trying to focus on the idea of Truckee reinventing the way people live in a mountain town.”Rick Holliday

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But, with funding in place and a Railyard Master Plan Amendment submitted, developer Rick Holliday said, "2016 is going to be the year we get going."

MASTER PLAN AMENDMENT

At last week's meeting, Holliday presented the council with the revisions to the 2009 Railyard Master Plan, highlighting four key changes:

1: The balloon track, used to turn snow removal equipment around, stays in its current location, which allows for 10 extra acres to be developed inside the track. Holliday said he is "extremely confident" the application to develop inside it will be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

2: The Rail House movie and performing arts theater is reduced in size (from eight screens and 1,000 seats to five or six screens and 750 seats).

3: The 32,000-square-foot grocery store is increased in size. The 10 acres of land picked up by the balloon track staying put would allow for a larger, full-sized grocery store, Holliday said.

4: Church Street would connect with Glenshire Drive, which Holliday said would help reduce "enormous amounts" of vehicle travel by providing a pipeline for Eastern Truckee residents to the Railyard.

Highlighting that point, Sierra Business Council President Steve Frisch, speaking during public comment, said — based on the state's calculations — it would cut down 20,000 tons of greenhouse gas over 20 years.

"It qualified as the seventh-highest scoring project in the state," Frisch added. "This truly is a project that can show how we can meet long-term greenhouse gas reductions."

RAIL HOUSE THEATER

At the Dec. 8 meeting, Holliday shed some light on plans for the mixed-use, four-story Rail House Theater project.

The 95,489-square-foot building will include eight retail spaces and two restaurant spaces on the ground floor, and a five- or six-screen movie theater on the second. Additionally, the second, third and fourth floors will each have nine residential condominiums.

Other amenities for tenants include a residential lobby, a dog washing station, and a near 2,000-square-foot storage locker area on the ground floor.

Holliday also pointed out that having a movie theater in Truckee would reduce resident's trips to cinemas in Reno — in other words, further reducing vehicle travel.

"We're trying to focus on the idea of Truckee reinventing the way people live in a mountain town, if we do this development the way we want to do it," Holliday said.

TRUCKEE ARTIST LOFTS

Ali Youssefi of CFY Development, Inc. — an affordable housing development company partnering with Holliday on the project — also on Dec. 8 presented a snapshot of the Truckee Artists Lofts portion of the project.

CFY Development and Holliday recently partnered on the Warehouse Artist Lofts, a renovation of the historic Lawrence Warehouse in downtown Sacramento.

Described as a mixed-use, mixed-income community for artists, the tentatively named Truckee Artist Lofts will include 78 rental apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units, as well as a gallery where artists and others may show their work.

"We're excited to create a community that will engage the public in a variety of ways," Youssefi said. "And allow the Truckee community to come inside the building and see some of the areas and artwork that the tenants create."

Spaces planned for the four-story building include a large courtyard on the second floor and a rooftop terrace on the top floor.

The ground floor would entail active retail spaces and "live-work" units — a space that combines an artist's workspace and living quarters. Truckee artists will also help put the finishing touches on the building itself, Youssefi said.

"Truckee is an amazing community," he added. "I'm excited to help build affordable housing for some of its most creative residents."

AFFORDABLE OPTIONS?

Youseffi estimated the rentals, which are income-based, would range from $402-$950 a month for studios; $431-$1,050 for one-bedrooms; $518-1,300 for two-bedrooms; and $598-$1,600 for three-bedrooms.

"All of these estimates are subject to change based on the date of occupancy," Youssefi said.

Youssefi also noted that residency in the building won't only be granted to artists and creative minds.

"Anyone can apply for residency in the building," he continued. "You don't have to be an artist to apply and qualify to live in any of the units."

The town is eying a March 2016 deadline to submit an application to the state of California for a 9 percent low-income housing tax credit for the Truckee Artists Lofts project.

Should the state approve the application, it would bring in over $18 million in equity to the $28.5 million development, Youssefi said.

If the council misses the March deadline, the last application deadline for 2016 is in June.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Railyard is scheduled to break ground in the spring of 2016, Kevin Brown of Holliday Development wrote in an email to the Sierra Sun.

"We plan to start in May/June with the infrastructure and get the Rail House going shortly thereafter," Brown wrote.

As for the artist lofts, Youseffi said he hopes to start construction in the fall of 2016.

Timelines for those projects, however, are still being ironed out as town council awaits approval from the CPUC to develop inside the balloon track.

At the Dec. 8 meeting, council authorized Town Manager Tony Lashbrook to submit an application to the CPUC.

"We're going to create a process that we haven't done yet," Lashbrook said of moving forward with the master plan. "To map it out — here's the decision tree, here's how it relates to the tax-credit timelines, et cetera. That would be our next step."

About the project

According to project plans, three distinct districts will guide and shape the Truckee Railyard development:

Phase 1: Downtown Extension — this is the most intensely developed district, serving as an easterly extension of downtown Truckee. It consists of the Rail House Theater and Truckee Artist Lofts, as well as a grocery store, mixed-use office and retail building, community building, brewpub restaurant, and two parks.

Phase 2a: Trout Creek — this would provide additional housing, by way of a mix of single family and multi-family homes along the newly restored Trout Creek.

Lastly,“Phase 2b: Industrial Heritage” would have mixed uses including multi-family residential, artisan and commercial space, and live-work uses.

More online: Visit truckeerailyard.com for detailed plans, project history, maps and more.