Samtrans weighing San Carlos Caltrain TOD proposals
- 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,
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
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