The Railyard project, under master developer Holliday Development, is intended to draw more foot traffic to downtown Truckee.
Totaling 90,000 square feet, Market Square Truckee is just one mixed-use component of the anticipated renovations to come.
Yumi Dahn, an associate planner for community development in Truckee, said the development is meant to host and foster North Lake Tahoe’s “vibrant community.”
“We don’t want to take away from historical downtown,” Dahn explained. “That is the jewel of our community, so we want to be cognitive of that in our development.”
Market Square, formerly called the Central Pacific Yard, is located just east of the Historic Downtown District at the southeast quadrant of Donner Pass Road and Church Street in Truckee.
Foothill Partners Douglas Wiele said the whole premise of his team’s portion of the project is to provide daily needs shopping in downtown Truckee.
“Downtown Truckee is inviting, but not really for the local community — it’s for the second-home tourist community,” Wiele said.
Wiele said the development’s lead anchor tenant is New Moon Natural Foods, which will help address the region’s relative food desert and provide accessible grocery items to tourists and locals alike.
“They’re moving from their current location to a space three times as large and plan to grow themselves,” Wiele said.
Wiele said the grocery store will alleviate the region’s traffic and pollution.
The project should appear in front of the Planning Commission this spring, with construction in the fall, Wiele said.
Associate Planner Dahn said the project has not yet been scheduled to appear before the Town Council.
Wiele, the head of just one of the development firms involved in the project, dispelled rumors that the completed Market Square would eventually house the sporting goods giant REI. The REI logo appears on some planning documents for the project.
“The Railyard Master Plan sets out in some detail the types of uses that are allowed in the project,” Wiele said. “We’re going to honor that — no variances or exceptions.”
Wiele said early blueprints for the development, located in the balloon track of the larger development, included the REI logo because Gallelli Real Estate were also brokers for the outdoor company.
“It’s called a balloon track because it’s a circular track used to turn snow plows around,” Wiele said. “There’s one on each side of Donner Pass.”
Wiele said when Union Pacific sold property to Holliday Developments, they prohibited housing in the circle because it was unsafe.
“There’s a deed restriction which prohibits housing development,” Wiele added. “That’s acknowledged in the town of Truckee.”
However, housing exists in the form of Truckee Artist Lofts, which is part of the Truckee Railyard Master project.
The development includes Coburn Crossing — a 127-room Marriott Hotel and 138-unit high density residential project. Although all new developments in the region are required to also then create or contribute to a fund to create affordable workforce housing, Wiele said that requirement was met through the 77 units at the Truckee Artist Lofts.
“As to housing, we are part of the Truckee Railyard Master project,” Wiele explained. “The housing requirements — the workforce affordable housing was met in one fell swoop with the Artist Lofts.”
Wiele said Foothill Partners, which is particularly dedicated to the Market Square portion of the Railyard, specializes in developing in communities with high barriers to entryway.
“Places like Alameda, Berkeley — communities that are notorious for getting permits in,” Wiele said. “Truckee is a place where permission to build doesn’t come easy.”
Wiele said Foothill Partners shares the values of the community it is involved in.
“We’re socially aware, green-minded, we’re off from the left and comfortable there,” Wiele said.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for the Sierra Sun and The Union, a sister publication of the Sun.