Railyard: Boon or burden? | SierraSun.com

Railyard: Boon or burden?

Ryan Salm file photo/Sierra SunThe Railyard project area (bottom) and downtown Truckee (middle) are seen in this aerial photo.

TRUCKEE “-As the Railyard, a proposed development east of downtown Truckee, goes through planning and environmental review, one question asked by the downtown merchants and studied by the town is ” what will all those new businesses do to what’s already there?

On one side, Strategic Economics, a consulting firm hired by the town, says the addition of commercial space, a theater, residential units, and a hotel will add to downtown’s draw.

“We really believe additional retail downtown has the potential to contribute to a critical mass ” an amount of retail that makes downtown more of a destination,” said Nadine Fogarty, principal with Strategic Economics.

On the other, some downtown business owners and residents worry that a new mass of retail managed by one property owner like a mall could out-compete individual downtown businesses, and traffic approaching from the east will be diverted into the new shops.

“We need a project that supports the community,” said Bryan DeVoe, a Truckee resident. “I think this will kill the rest of downtown.”

Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s, said he was concerned all the new retail under one owner could be managed like a mall, making it more competitive than the individually-owned businesses that already exist downtown.

And Siobhan Smart, who owns a number of properties and businesses downtown, said she thought the realignment of Donner Pass Road through the project will siphon customers away from downtown shops and restaurants.

But Fogarty said that same level of control the owners of the new development will have will allow them to select businesses complementary to downtown.

“It’s really important that the tenants be the right fit,” Fogarty said.

The movie theater in particular could be a boon to local shops and restaurants, Fogarty said, estimating it would bring an additional $750,000 in spending in town annually.

– 570: Residential units including live/work (business in home), and work/live units (home over business)

– 70,000: Retail square footage

– 15,000: Office square footage

– 20,000: Grocery store square footage

– 25,000: Civic building square footage

– 1,000: Movie theater seats

– 60: Hotel rooms

The Town of Truckee is looking for public input on the potential fiscal impacts of the Railyard development on downtown businesses. Contact David Griffith, redevelopment and housing coordinator at 582-2910 or dgriffith@townoftruckee.com, by Feb. 6. Also, leave your comment below this story.

To learn more about the Railyard plans, an environmental review of the project, or to view the draft economic impact analysis, go to http://www.truckee2025.org.

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