SamTrans approves negotiations for San Carlos TOD project
- Published Thursday, November 10, 2005, in the San Mateo County Times
SamTrans to consider a lease for a transit-oriented project
By Rebekah Gordon
SAN CARLOS -- A long-awaited housing-and-retail project on land
adjacent to the Caltrain station moved closer to reality Wednesday,
when the SamTrans Board of Directors gave the nod for the agency to
begin negotiating a land-lease with a developer.
SamTrans owns 61/2 acres at Holly Street that it intends to lease for
50 to 99 years to Foster City-based Legacy Partners Residential LLC,
Inc., which plans to build a transit-oriented development project
there with 319 units and retail space.
"We feel it's not only important to provide the service (of
transportation) but to bring people to the service," said Brian
Fitzpatrick, SamTrans' real estate development manager.
Transit-oriented development -- putting housing and retail close to
each other to facilitate walking and close to public transportation --
is a model that is cropping up throughout the Bay Area. SamTrans is
leasing land for a newly completed development on El Camino Real near
the Colma BART station called La Terraza, Fitzpatrick said.
"We're interested in the highest transit return," he said. "We have
goals that make us want to stay in as landowners."
After partnering with San Carlos' Railroad Land Use Citizens Advisory
Committee in 2002-03 to understand the city's needs and goals,
SamTrans issued requests for development proposals in 2004 and
SamTrans was pleased with Legacy's proposal of a smaller number of
housing units of mixed size -- one, two and three bedrooms.
"Legacy had a really good feel for the scope and feel of the town,"
SamTrans will have 60 days to determine the initial business terms of
the lease, and Legacy will make a $50,000, non-refundable deposit to
the agency to offset negotiation costs. SamTrans then will have 90
days to develop the final long-term lease for the land.
Legacy will have to go through the normal channels with San Carlos's
Planning Commission and City Council to get approval of the plans
before proceeding with construction.
Bob Grassilli, who was elected Tuesday to the City Council, was a
member of the Railroad Land Use Citizens Advisory Committee, which he
said acted in a broad advisory mode to help SamTrans get the project
"A transit-oriented use with retail on the bottom and housing on the
top was a really positive thing," he said. "I'm happy to see they're
Grassilli hopes that SamTrans and Legacy will not forget the desires
of the city as the process moves forward.
"I'm hopeful that they're gonna work with us a little bit," he said.
Staff writer Rebekah Gordon can be reached at (650) 348-4331