Railyard project ready to leave station
In a few years, downtown Truckee won’t look the same.
To the east of the town’s Commercial Row, a lumber mill and train tracks once lent the area a blue-collar, industrial atmosphere.
But with the closing of the mill, an East Bay developer has drawn up big plans for the 75-acre site. A new market, movie theater, hotel, civic building and a number of parks and trails could all be included in Truckee’s Railyard development.
Public review of the master plan and environmental documents begins Thursday for the project that would significantly expand the town’s downtown core.
Holliday Development proposes dividing the Railyard site into three districts: a “Downtown Extension” directly to the east of Commercial Row, an “Industrial Heritage” area with live-in/work housing, and a “Trout Creek” residential area, according to town staff reports.
“We want it to be a walkable part of downtown,” said Darin Dinsmore, a planning consultant for the project.
The extension of downtown Truckee is scheduled in the project’s first phase, said Denyelle Nishimori, associate planner for the town, and includes a 60-room hotel, 1,000-seat movie theater, a small grocery store and a public building of some kind.
The grocery store would be something like a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but the tenant hasn’t been determined, said Molly Maybrun, development director with Holliday Development, while the theater would aim to bring people downtown for shopping and dining.
“The civic building is open for different uses, but given its size it could be a library, a post office or a number of different things,” Nishimori said.
Also planned are trails along Trout Creek that link with a number of small parks in the project, Nishimori said, adding that one of the parks could be a home for historic railroad displays.
“Right now we are talking about ways to incorporate the railroad [history] into the plan with either a museum or with engines or cars in the park,” Nishimori said. “People like that stuff.”
The Truckee Donner Railroad Society took delivery of its first piece of rolling stock, an 80-ton diesel engine, earlier this month, and expect more soon.
Holliday Development proposes reconfiguring the roads and the train tracks in the project area, realigning Donner Pass Road and Glenshire, and pushing the train’s balloon track (for snowplow trains to turn around) further east, Nishimori said.
One of the new streets could be closed for a farmer’s market or other special events, she said.
Consultant Dinsmore said the developer will include plenty of parking in the project, with additional spaces along Union Pacific Railroad. Not ready to venture a guess on when construction could begin, he said he expects the environmental review of the project to be lengthy.
“Due to the size and significance of the project to downtown, there will be an extensive public review process,” Nishimori said.
A number of meetings, presentations, and workshops will give the public a number of chances to chime in, Nishimori said. Town staff has drawn up a tentative schedule that specifies 10 separate meetings between now and July, according to staff reports.