Millbrae claims more tracks for HSR, Caltrain threaten $250m TOD
- Published Thursday, October 25, 2007, by the San Francisco Examiner
Train may derail downtown plan
The introduction of high-speed rail could threaten Millbrae's $250
million Site One proposal.
By Mike Rosenberg
MILLBRAE -- The $250 million revamp to downtown Millbrae is being
threatened by the high-speed train that could go through the city's
The city's proposed development dubbed Site One, which would add
condominiums, shops, offices, a movie theater and more around the
station, would be impeded by the proposed project, Community
Development Director Ralph Petty said.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has proposed a four-track
alignment that would allow its proposed high-speed train to pass
through, but Millbrae wants to keep the station at its current two-
track alignment. The high-speed train would cost $40 billion and pass
through the Bay Area between Sacramento and San Diego if approved by
voters in November 2008, Rail Authority Executive Director Mehdi
The proposed alignment, parking structure and security fencing would
impede on redevelopment space, cause environmental impacts and hurt
developer's chances of acquiring investments, Petty said. Because
the Rail Authority has superior power of eminent domain over the
city, if a compromise cannot be worked out, the city would have
to rethink its plans and possibly scrap them altogether, he said.
Millbrae has been working on its redevelopment plan for 10 years
and appears ready to begin construction in 2009. Ironically, the
city may have to use eminent domain to buy out the businesses in the
redevelopment area if property owners do not agree to sell their
The city sent a letter last week to the Rail Authority asking it
to reconsider its current plans. In it, a consultant to the city
complains that the city reached an agreement in 1999 and 2001 with
Caltrain and SamTrans, which said that the high-speed train project
would not jeopardize their redevelopment plans. The city also accused
the Rail Authority of not properly coordinating with Caltrain and
BART on the project.
The Rail Authority is in the process of hearing comments from cities
with stations, Morshed said. The group is not even certain yet
whether the Millbrae station would be on the train's route, he said.
"If it's established that the train will go through there, then we'd
work out with the city, the community and landowners in a cooperative
way to come up with a mutually beneficial solution," Morshed said.
Caltrain has plans to expand to a four-track system throughout areas
of the Peninsula regardless of the high-speed train, said spokesman
Jonah Weinberg. Its plans should not affect the redevelopment,
though, because Caltrain would only expand on its own property, he
Millbrae's redevelopment plans around its BART/Caltrain station could
be in jeopardy.
* Eight acres of land, with development on five acres
* 231 condominiums
* 105,000 square feet of retail
* A 131-room hotel
* A six-screen art house cinema
* 40,000 square feet of office
* A 900-space, two-story underground parking garage
Source: City of Millbrae