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Samtrans weighing San Carlos Caltrain TOD proposals

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  • 5/13 Redwood City Daily
    Published Friday, May 13, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News Transit agency mulls three plans By Beth Wineqarner Daily News Staff Writer The San Mateo County
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2005
      Published Friday, May 13, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News

      Transit agency mulls three plans

      By Beth Wineqarner
      Daily News Staff Writer

      The San Mateo County Transit District is currently weighing three
      proposals for a mixed-use project that would bring housing and
      retail to a stretch of land on the railway corridor around the San
      Carlos Caltrain station.

      "We have three great proposals from major high-quality developers
      out here," said Brian Fitzpatrick, the real estate department
      manager for the transit district. He was not ready to name those
      developers or discuss specifics of the proposals.

      Decision this summer Fitzpatrick expects that SamTrans will select
      a proposal in July or August, after which the winning developer
      will submit plans to the city of San Carlos for approval.

      The project will involve construction on 6.5 acres of land on both
      sides of the train tracks east of El Camino Real, according to San
      Carlos Planning Director Liz Cullinan. The property, owned by
      SamTrans, became surplus after the Holly Street Grade Separation
      Project was completed.

      "Each of the proposals has things we do like and don't like," said
      Brian Moura, assistant city manager, adding that negotiations may
      prompt further redesigns before a project is chosen. "They want to
      get in a position so that whatever they bring to us has a high
      chance of getting approved."

      The San Carlos Citizens Advisory Committee in 2003 outlined
      guidelines for the site calling for the preservation of view
      corridors and the creation of public gathering spaces and links to
      the downtown area from eastern and western parts of San Carlos,
      Cullinan said.

      More housing downtown San Carlos officials see the project as an
      opportunity to achieve some of the goals established in its Downtown
      Urban Design Guidelines, which call for more housing and retail
      downtown while maintaining "a 'village' or 'small town' atmosphere,"
      according to a city report.

      "Caltrain's goal is to have a high-quality transit-oriented
      development project that will create connections between transit,
      the city and the eastside community," Fitzpatrick said. "We want
      to make our station a hub for activity in that area."

      Plus, it's a chance to improve the look of the property along the
      railway. "Obviously, having that long strip of dirt is not the most
      aesthetic thing in town," Moura said.

      Moura credited Caltrain executive director Mike Scanlon with a "bold
      vision" for development near its train stations. "He calls it a
      place, destination.

      He's saying, 'We want to do something in the San Carlos corridor
      that ... gets other people to say, "I want one of those in my
      city.' "
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