Union Pacific buys NUMMI land, wants to build freight rail complex

Fremont’s drive to turn the old NUMMI auto plant site into a jobs hub just took a great leap forward … if you’re a hobo.

We’ll have a story in tomorrow’s paper that Union Pacific bought the two parcels totaling 160 acres adjacent to former NUMMI, now Tesla plant.

And here’s what they want to do with what city officials think is most valuable unused real estate in the East Bay:

“We plan to develop the property at an undetermined point in the future to provide service for our freight rail customers,” said Aaron Hunt, a Union Pacific spokesman.”

UPDATE: Just talked to the mayor. He called it “terrible news.”

Man, that really destroys a lot of plans or potential plans,” he said.

The story is now online. Read it here.

Matt Artz


  1. So I would guess that this means more railcar storage (railcars containing what ?) more trains and cars being moved which means more train horns at all hours (specifically at night). Wonderful news !!!!!
    Maybe the will build it so the railcars can be stored on groung level and then above it they could build a retail center with housing above that…..perfect use of the space.
    All the more reason to move out of Warm Springs.

  2. Haw Haw Haw! I hope they turn that land into an industrial freight yard. Your prop values just dropped Mission peeps.

  3. This is what Warm Springs residents want all along. They don’t want a nice retail/office with a stadium, they want a freight rail yard. Imagine the area turn into a garbage and freight rail yard. Someday this area will be smelly and air pollution that will damage their health. Oh well! Warm Springs residents demand for that.

  4. The people in the Mission District protested against the ballpark idea for the A’s all the while ignoring the BART station and BART’s extension towards San Jose, I wonder what their going to say now. I was for the ballpark and against BART (good thing I did’nt make any bet’s). However my concerns are what is going to be in the railcars to be stored there ? and with increased activity and storage and train movement I believe that the HORN issue will only increase.

    Ironically if UP develops the property for other uses they might be sitting on a goldmine.

  5. @FremontCa….I am a resident of Warm Springs with alot of friends, and family that live in the neighborhood and an expanded railyard is definetly not what is wanted for this area and no one has DEMANDED it either. The news apparently took the Mayor by suprise you would think that the city would/should have had some knowledge of this real estate deal being in the works…………guess not.

  6. @IndependentGuy…..Interesting reading, definetly reveals many concerns that people should have and be aware of

    I do like your idea about stopping BART.

  7. Maybe Fremont could be the Chicago stockyards of the West Coast. The railroad barons of yesteryear would be proud.

  8. Maybe Fremont could be the Chicago stockyards of the West Coast.

    Beggars cant be choosers. This really blew up in a lot of people’s faces.

    I estimate every home in the surrounding community just got chopped by 50K. If you protested against the ballpark, I thank you for your contribution to this great city.

  9. ridiculously, the NIMBYs were afraid the ballpark would turn South Fremont into East Oakland. Instead they get railyards a la West Oakland.

  10. Let’s play imagine:

    You and Vinnie Bacon are sitting at a bus stop at Fremont and Grimmer. A man approaches you to offer you free tickets to game one of the World Series.

    While you are thrilled at the offer, Vinnie seems skeptical. He says, yes, the tickets are free but we need to eat, and food is very expensive at ballparks. This will end up costing us more in the long run. “I suggest we make a sandwhich at home with the organic bean sprouts I bought at Trader Joe’s”.

    You say “but Vinnie, this is once in a lifetime. I’m willing to spend a little more. I’ll only have 4-5 beers this time, promise”.

    Vinnie pleads with you to think responsibly. “You have to wake up early tomorrow and look for a green job”, he says.

    You remind Vinnie that there are no green jobs. Solar panels are made by robots. But, Vinnie assures you that it is best to turn down the tickets because assuredly something better will come along.

    You agree with Vinnie, and reluctantly decline the tickets.

    After waiting all day at the bus stop, a black sedan pulls up to the bus stop. The glare from the tinted passenger side window blinds you. Vinnie nudges you in way to say “this is it! Wait, you’ll see!”

    The electric window rolls down, and from within the car emerges a shadow of a figure holding a bucket. He flings the bucket’s oily contents in your direct, the lot of it landing all over you. Vinnie was spared; not a drop on Vinnie.

    While you sit there stewing in the stench of diesel fuel, the car’s occupant yells “sucka” and speeds away.

  11. I’m tired of the city council allowing things to just happen. And yes, I know this is private industry and not government land.

    They have the power to deny business licenses, permits, applications and the like. They have power to wield for the betterment of the residents.

    They also have the ability to actively seek out businesses and court the type of industry they want to see here. They can exert effort on behave of the people they represent.

    Whenever Matt Artz gets a response from the Mayor, it always has the ring of: Well, gee golly… that is terrible news.

    If the news is so terrible, why is it NEWS to the Mayor?

    It works either way:

    If the city counsel really WANTED a train yard here, they should have been participating, sweetening the deal and adding their voice to the final purchase decision.

    If, on the other hand, they did not want the train yard, they should have made attempts to block the sale.

    We once forced the mighty McDonald’s to build a unique, Mission-style building near the highway. Remember that.

  12. This is a perfect example of a part time city counsel and mayor. We have a bunch of part time amateurs running Fremont. Who is accountable?
    So much for developing Nummi property and the Bart station.
    Our complete lack of leadership will be Fremont’s down fall, but we are getting a skate Park shoved down our throats.
    Who does the Fremont Mayor and City Counsel represent? Obviously not the residents of Fremont.

  13. On the topic of home prices in Warm Springs vs. Niles – according to Zillow, home prices in the flats of Warm Springs have dropped 12% in the past 5 years. In the hills, where Marty’s enemies live, prices have dropped 10% in 5 years. In Niles? Prices have dropped a hair less than 23%. Maybe that’s why Marty hates the Warm Springs residents – they’ve done a lot better in the housing market than he has.

  14. Wrong, West.

    The city actively pursued a viable option for that land. The city manager spent a now infamous $100K and dedicated a great deal of city resources on the effort. There was a plan for a ballpark, retail, entertainment, residential all being build in stages. Funding from the county was solicited.

    YOU opposed this plan. The FCN opposed the plan. Bacon and McDonald opposed the plan. You thought that our city government has quite the nerve to even suggest it.

    So here we are. This is the s__t sandwich you people made for yourselves. Step up and take a big bite.

  15. Charlotte, I never considered that comparison. But I am elated that many of those people who came out to protest in WS are about to pay the fiddler.

  16. Marty are you still whining about the Ball Park that was never to be. Also as much as you are
    Thrilled by Vinnie let me remind you he is married!

  17. This is Nummi giving Fremont the finger. After the city council gave Nummi the finger by ignoring Nummi’s concerns about a potential ballpark, not only did Nummi close the plant, but they sold the property to an entity that will not “better” the city.

    We will see what the EIR states about a railyard. That will be another fight.

    Now, a BART station next to a railyard or empty lot makes a lot of sense. The WS BART station, also, has been a done deal for many years. I would imagine that many of the resident were not even around when that process was being undertaken.

    But what is frustrating is how the city council characterizes the Nummi land as valuable, but does little to nothing to work with Nummi to come up with a plan to actually develop it. The land has been for sale for a while now and this sale came as a surprise to the city. That really shows a lack of involvement by the city and the city council with local businesses.

    I guess that exception is pet projects of the council members. For those, the city council will have the city manager bend over backwards to further those programs.

  18. Ok, West. But don’t blame the council. The NUMMI site is an industrial wasteland, and will be for ever. Despite what Wasserman contends today, there was one single opportunity to develop that land, and that opportunity came with a ballpark. What you are seeing now is the only alternative.

  19. “..don’t blame the council.” –

    For which part, Marty ?

    That UP decided to do a deal with NUMMI ? – – you’re correct – that’s a business transaction which, unless you were very persuasive and had some significant connections with the involved decision makers, the best you could hope to do is influence – – you certainly could not prevent.

    But how about the part where we are (repeatedly, now) completely unaware of very significant transactions occurring within our city limits ?

    I, for one, think that is a fundamental responsibility and part of their JOBS – part-time or otherwise. But, let’s just say that part-time status is an excuse for all sorts of nonesense because West says so. Isn’t our City Manager full-time ??? – – and wouldn’t you think HE’D have his connections and sources of information and sh/w/oudln’t he be keeping the Council informed ??????

    Lots wrong with the way this (and the previous NUMMI transaction) was “discovered” and the ultimate responsibility for that lack of awareness and/or transparency and the resulting inefficiencies falls squarely on the shoulders of current council and City Manager.

  20. Marty, will you ever stop whining about the Ball Park / Nummi, it is getting rather tiresome.
    I am suprised you are defending the present Mayor and Council,
    Marty who is Accountable?

  21. tiresome

    You seem pretty thrilled to respond, West. I don’t think this topic ever gets tiresome.

    I’m just stating the sad facts about the NUMMI site. Fremont was never sitting on a golden egg. I’m sure there was a camp who fantasized about a Whole Foods, Coach outlet and Chinese buffets on every corner. But I think the majority who actively opposed the park were content with vacancy at best, or industrial if need be.

    The kicker is that they allowed themselves to be talked up on mythical green energy, that it was coming (everyone from the current council, Wasserman, Bacon, Obama – all talk a good game). All this, despite the plethora of vacant industrial office and R&D space scattered around F-mont west.

    For NUMMI to become a modern residential and commerce center — the land surrounding an auto factory for christ’s sake — some extraordinary events were going to have to happen.

    Those events were presented to the community and they protested against it. I am not saying their protests alone sent Wolfe running, but they were a piece of the puzzle. It’s time to deal with the alternative that many of us were warning against. I hope it’s not as bad as Oakland or Chicago, but it ain’t going to be good.

    I bet lemon orchards seem pretty rational now!

  22. #21… Welcome to Fremont where railway yards have become avant-garde!
    West, I hope you get well soon. I wonder if you and your gang are looking back at your opposition to the ballpark with any regrets? Fremont could of had a ballpark, thousand of jobs, much needed tax revenue. Fremont would have become a tourist attraction. But instead… thanks to your good work (toot toot) we are getting more railway tracks, sidings for storage and maintenance of railway cars and engines…a hobo tourist attraction!

  23. On the bright side Fremont does have the only Bikini Barrista. The glass is half full.

  24. For clarification…..
    Most if not ALL of the people in the Fremont Citizens Network are/were Mission District residents.

    They had meetings and protest gatherings in the Warm Springs District but they did not and do not REPRESENT the WS District or the people that reside in this neighborhood.

  25. Martin, The winter protests in 2009 were primarily Weibel parents and their adoring children. I think you’re right in assuming that not all of them even live in the attendance zone.

  26. Riddle me this, why are the same creative minds that hold Vinnie responsible for the creation of a stadium opposition simultaneously holding our Council and Mayor harmless for the massive ineptitude so clearly demonstrated by a near-total absence of any kind of well-orchestrated stadium promotion ??

    You mean to tell me that one little nobody – some kid no one ever heard of – was able to single handedly take on the entire breadth of experience and community connection our council and Mayor command ?????? How can that be ??!!

    WOW !

    Either –

    Vinnie is VERY VERY VERY good.


    Our Counci is VERY VERY VERY disconnected from the community.


    A little of both.

    See, given the overwhelming support by broader Fremontians (you read it HERE folks) – – – there should have been L O A D S of supporters that our well connected Mayor and COuncil could have motivated – but, seemingly – no one was home, the lights weren’t on, and . . . .

    (cue crickets chirping)

  27. Some people in fremont daydream about high end retail, fancy restaurants, etc lol. Completely delusional. Only thing fremont can attract is milk tea, fast food restaurants. Like I have said before the reason being the demographics.

    A stadium deal comes along, it should have been gobbled up. Now the whole area will remain industrial. I am not sure which brings in more crime? stadium or an industrial area? I know already there are many “happy ending” places near that area.

    Future seems bright for fremont heheha

  28. Marty, as usual you disappoint me. Why would you or anyone else living in Fremont celebrate a railroad yard coming to town? Do you want to punish people?
    You folks in Nilles live in a bubble. For it’s small size Niles has received too much redevelopment dollars.

  29. The whole city council needs to bow there heads in shame.
    We need better representation, part time politicians is causing Fremont to slide further into oblivion.
    We need full time Mayor.
    Where was Fred?

  30. Haw Haw indeed! I’m glad to hear it! I live 2 miles from the CalTrain/freight tracks here in Gilroy and so what? The trains sound nice. One less “green” boondoggle and one more rail yard, is a good thing. As Peak Oil gets more evident, we’re gonna need all the rail infrastructure we can get, not more green boondoggled to build $100k “green” cars for rich idiots.

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