15 years after the town of Truckee, California came out with a new General Plan, a new vision is taking shape in one of our area's most historic downtowns. Standing in front of a newly rehabbed train depot, Truckee Donner Chamber president Lynn Saunders feels so close to reaching her dream of a revival in her town, she can already see it. This longtime Truckee cheerleader envisions a new crowd, coming to a dramatically different town. As she told us, "Every new product brings more opportunities for people to enjoy here."

And what a new product…a gargantuan (for Truckee) downtown makeover, erasing one of the last remnants of the town's logging days. With the "Truckee Railyard" project, the days of being a tiny storybook town are coming to an end. Big Bay Area developers have big plans. One of them is to transform the old rail yard downtown into hundreds of upscale residences.

John McLaughlin, community development director for the town of Truckee, told us it will be "something that would be more urban, but really appropriate in downtown Truckee. Over 500 residences are proposed. We can easily handle it in this area." Along with the 500-plus condos and homes…a theatre, supermarket and retail stores. McLaughlin said there will also be "some light industrial with some civic space...a museum and some open spaces."

The project is already a done deal. Already approved by residents, the Master Plan passed in 2009. The Railyard Project's first building has already been built...the others will look just like it. The developer is the same one who built the Pacific Cannery Lofts in Oakland, and the Clocktower building in San Francisco.

In Truckee, smaller changes have already, literally, "paved" the way. You will notice the wider sidewalks and more urban park areas up and down the main drag. McLaughlin showed us all the new areas for "outdoor dining, outdoor seating...great spots for people to just hang out."

Lynn Saunders says despite the project's size, she's convinced that Truckee's unique character will live on. As she told us, "It still retains that kind of funky, hip cool vibe to it. We're keeping the historic value too, absolutely."

-written by John Potter

You can see the plans yourself for the Truckee Railyard development below…just click the link: