Railyard developer looking for state funding
TRUCKEE “-Finding a financial foothold to start a new development is challenging in this dismal economy, but Truckee’s Railyard may have an opportunity to get state funding.
Rick Holliday, owner of Holliday Development and the Railyard, has his eye on California Prop 1C funding that could help with infrastructure work like roads, moving the balloon railroad track (loop of track for snowplow trains to turn around on) that sits on the property, and fixing up Trout Creek.
But timing could be an issue, with about 60 days left to apply for a piece of the $200 million the state is giving out.
“I think this is a chance to get infrastructure down,” Holliday said. “The biggest impediment to good infill development ” and I think everybody wants good infill ” is the infrastructure requirements to get the project to work, its more complicated.”
In fact, Jim Porter, an attorney representing the Railyard, said before the current project he wrote a letter as to why the Railyard could never be developed, citing staggering infrastructure costs.
Holliday estimated costs for infrastructure work ” roads, utilities, and the balloon track relocation ” at about $15 million, with Trout Creek restoration potentially costing another $1 million to $5 million.
The potential problem, Holliday said, is how far along in the approval process the Railyard needs to be to get the most points towards winning the grant.
“It’s not realistic to have fully considered the project within 60 days; it’s too significant a project with too much public interest,” said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook. But he added, “This funding is pretty important to realizing our infill goal.”
If state funding could be used for that work, the tax increment generated by the Railyard could be used for other work in downtown, Lashbrook said.
The realignment of Glenshire Drive and the rehabilitation of Trout Creek, pinched by the balloon track, are of particular interest to the town, Lashbrook said.
Before approval can be considered, Lashbrook said three significant issues remain in the Railyard plans: roadway circulation, economics and competition with downtown, and massing, scale, and intensity of development.
Holliday said he also realizes trying to rush public process won’t go over well with project opponents.
While one major concern project opponents have is the competition 75,000 square feet of commercial space will bring to downtown, Rick Holliday said he doesn’t envision that space being dominated by retail.
“I think we should look at ways to strengthen retail, people in the hotel in the Railyard would have a much better time going downtown,” Holliday said.
Likewise, Holliday said paid parking would have to be incorporated into the Railyard to keep things even throughout the downtown area.
Looking at the big picture, the first phase of the project ” a hotel and movie theater block ” are still at least five years off, he said.
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