Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UP Buys 160 Acres in Bay Area for Possible Intermodal Facility

The Union Pacific Railroad Co. has purchased two parcels adjoining Tesla Motor plant in Fremont and plans to use the combined 160 acres of property for freight transportation activities, the Omaha-based Class I railroad said Thursday.

The railroad purchased the two vacant parcels – one adjacent to the car plant on the north, one on the south – on Dec. 29, 2010 from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. UP operates a set of tracks that run next to both parcels, and the rail right-of-way could accommodate a second set.

The UP parcels are part of the former General Motors-Toyota joint venture NUMMI facility, which totaled 370 acres of land and a 5.5 million square foot factory. NUMMI, which operated at the site for more than 25 years, shuttered last April. Electric carmaker Tesla Motors purchased the factory in October 2010, with plans to begin production of their vehicles in 2012.

Fremont officials had hoped to eventually develop the two parcels, including using the larger northern parcel for a proposed new baseball stadium for the Oakland A's and residential development.

While UP has not stated the exact plans for the two sites, many people were already guessing that an intermodal rail facility was in the property's future. UP operates a large intermodal facility at the Port of Oakland and one near the Central Valley town of Lathrop.

"In California, we do a lot of intermodal, a lot of agricultural business, a fair amount of automotive," UP spokesperson Aaron Hunt told the Oakland Tribune. "We serve all kinds of customers. This property acquisition will help us to serve those customers at some point in the future."