More from Union Pacific

UPDATE: Let me know if this works as a map. If so, Union Pacific bought the two chunks outlined in blue north and south of the actual plant. Click here.


I spoke to UP for several minutes today, but somehow don’t really know much more than what was in today’s story. Here are some key points:

1) Union Pacific intends for the 160 acres site to be a rail yard servicing freight rail, exactly what kind of rail yard (inter-modal, automotive, agricultural), they say they don’t know yet.
2) They plan to use the entire 160 acres, which are on two non-contiguos parcels.
3) Union Pacific has capacity concerns, which led it to buy the former NUMMI land.

From the city I got:
1) The city is scheduled to meet with Union Pacific on Friday.
2) With most private owners, the city can use its powers to zone land as leverage in negotiations. But the railroad is federally regulated and the city doesn’t think has zoning authority over Union Pacific, but it is researching the question.

Speaking of Feds, it doesn’t look like Pete Stark, D-Fremont, will have a comment on this today. Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski just issued a statement, saying found Union Pacific’s purchase “very disturbing” and that it “could have a negative effect on future development plans in the community.”

Kind of a terrible week at City Hall. They found out about this late Tuesday (I suck) and they’re pressing now to figure out if they can salvage their redevelopment projects including the Irvington BART station.

Matt Artz


  1. Matt, do you have any details on the exact location of this land? When you say non contiguous, I’m picturing the land north and south of the plant that abuts the tracks. Is this correct?

  2. Where exactly are these parcels relative to the existing NUMMI rail yard? How big are they compared to the existing NUMMI rail yard? How big are they compared to the yards at Oakland and Lathrop? Are the new parcels in open space, or are there existing buildings? Is there a map of all of this?

    (For extra credit, show the location of the future BART station and the various ballpark proposals.)

  3. Yes, north and south of the plant. I’ll try to get a map up here.

  4. The key at the bottom indicates the blue line is the entire NUMMI site. I don’t see any additional parcels indicated other than the entire redevelopment area in yellow.

  5. I’ll say it again: How could they not know about this BEFORE it was sold? Why did Matt have to tell them what was going on in the city they run?

    I’m neither for nor against a giant rail yard being put in on one of the country’s biggest toxic sites (see past Argus articles), but anything happening on the NUMMI site is kinda important folks.

    You ran a campaign, people made a mark near your name, time to do some actual work. The city council meetings are the least of what you have to do once elected.

  6. Andrew C.
    That’s not true. They knew late Tuesday/early Wednesday. I didn’t know till late Thursday.

  7. Got it with the map. I’ll say again, there’s not much else a developer would be willing to build on two parcels that flank an auto plant. Everyone in Fremont (except for Ondrasek) must have assumed they were going to build something some day, and whatever they built wasn’t going to be pretty.

    I really feel bad for the WS flats. Niles just got an influx of redevelopment money, a new town square and park. Niles can only get better and better. Cant say the same for other parts of the city.

  8. That is why we need better representation for the rest of Fremont, Marty, you just made the case for Fremont City Council, district elections

  9. Just wondering if the purchase by the railroad was a preemptive strike to PREVENT the publicized development of a new energy development hub that competes with their other land development projects elsewhere.

    Railroads have always held the aces in land development projects in the western US, and swing incredible weight with state and federal government relationships that they’ve developed since the 1860’s. They drove the writing of transportation laws since day one. Think robber barons. Think gilted age. It shouldn’t surprise if they intentionally hid their proposals from the City of Fremont in order to manipulate this.

    And as far as lawsuits and local restrictions, they have pretty much written the laws for right of way over the past hundred years, and own all the best lawyers. They are an entrenched interest that doesn’t allow much to happen that they don’t want to happen. They are right up there with big coal and big oil — who, by the way, are some of their most favored clients and investors.

    How this all came to be, who’s pulling the strings and who sits on whose boards will make a really great book!

  10. The 2 parcels are as follows:

    The North parcel is bordered on the West side by Fremont Blvd., on the North side by Grimmer Blvd., on the East side by East Industrial (which actually is a continuation to the south of “Old Warms Springs”.

    Due East of East Industrial are the existing UP RR tracks, so far as I know there is only one house that remains between East Industrial and the RR tracks. I don’t believe that this property was part of the deal.

    The South parcel is bordered on the South (by part of Kato Rd.)and Mission Blvd./262, on the West side again by Kato Rd., and on the East side by the existing UP RR tracks. This parcel is South (more or less) of the “Racetrack” that Nummi built on it’s property.

    There is also a staging/storage yard for “tanker style” railcars South of Warren between the UP RR Tracks and Mission Falls Court, because this is an existing railcar area I don’t think that it was part of the deal.

    You can get a pretty good overview of the area and the parcels on Google maps.

    The BART station is going to be built in the area South of Grimmer Blvd., West of WS Blvd and the existing UP RR tracks (where the remote control airplane park was…they also add RC cars and a dirt track to the park) but sadly this also is gone now.

    Hope this is helpful.

  11. Warm Spring is going to get more Redevelopment money…

    They plan on widening Mission Blvd from WS Blvd to 880 (which seems kinda strange because they just completed all of the interchange work, which took years. Good work too because there are small sections that are and have been sinking and are constantly being repaired, and they finally coordinated the lights at Warren and Kato).

    Then their going to build road underpasses (train overpasses) at Warren and then at Kato (at the South end of Kato near the Fremont/Milpitas border).

    So this means that traffic in the area is going to be very challenging for the next few years….yea!

    I only hope that they do better work, but I kinda doubt it because I am sure that they went with the lowest bidder.

  12. Martin, enjoy the overpases in warm springs. Make sure there’s water underneath those bridges.

  13. Thank you for the clarification. Your posted response from the Mayor reads very much after the fact.

  14. Based on Martin’s description, UP bought essentially all the undeveloped land that NUMMI had.

  15. @ MikeTeeVee….Yep, that’s pretty much the picture.

    @Andrew C. after the fact is an understatment…the whole city was sleeping on this one, especially the redevelopment agency…..how did they find out about it ? by phone call…e-mail. I wonder …..

  16. Marty, I’m puzzled by your comment in post #7, “…there’s not much else a developer would be willing to build on two parcels that flank an auto plant.”

    Wouldn’t it hold true then for someone looking to build a stadium too? Why would they want to build it next to an auto plant?

    AT&T Park has McCovey Cove over the right field fence. A stadium at this location would have had that auto plant you mentioned.

  17. VOR, I’m saying that without a stadium, there will be no retail and residential on these lots. That was the give and take between the developer and the interests of the city.

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