The most frustrating thing about the proposed changes – make that “major” changes – to the Railroad Square project is that from the beginning there were real concerns about whether the proposed two levels of underground parking in this 5.5-acre project made sense and would pencil out.
Everything hinged on that garage working.
Well, now it turns out that the underground garage doesn’t make sense – and neither does all of that housing given the slump in the real estate market.
The Railroad Square project originally was going to contain 250 units of housing along with a food and wine center, shops and restaurants.
But now the developer who was picked to build this pedestrian-friendly complex next to the future stop for the SMART train is proposing cutting the housing down to 118 units and putting in three floors of office space. (Does downtown Santa Rosa really need any more office space?)
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District board is now stuck having to decide whether to press ahead with this radically different project – and risk incurring the wrath of housing advocates – seeking new proposals or just wating until the housing market improves.
We take a look at all of this in our lead editorial on Tuesday.

– Paul Gullixson