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Downtown Depot

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Historic Train Depot & Site Planning Community Workshops

Updated on 07/03/2018 5:10 PM

Project Update - 11/9/18

The City has been guiding an exciting and highly engaging process to revitalize and activate the historic Depot site.  The shared effort we have all expended together beginning back on March 17, 2018 with our first community convening on the Downtown Depot Revitalization Project (The Project) is moving forward with promising results. Currently, City Staff is working closely and creatively with two potential proposers who have submitted their conceptual ideas for bringing new life and excitement to the Depot site.

Both proposers have faithfully and fully embraced the many and varied aspirations expressed by you, the members of our community, during the ideation for the Project.  These concepts include diverse retail options, food and beverage alternatives, multi-generational public gathering and meeting spaces, entertainment venues, rehabilitation and respectful reuse of the Depot building, and multi-modal transit offerings (including bike & scooter rentals), among many other exciting features.

At this time, City Staff are working with both proposers to develop some options for potential implementation of their ideas.  These discussions contemplate several alternatives, including potentially combining the best of both proposals, creative financing options, and staging or phasing the development of the project.

As we work through these details, we ask for your patience with this process and we will keep you apprised of our progress.  As we progress with those efforts, we will be convening another workshop at City Hall to share their ideas and receive your valued and essential input.

Please watch this space for further updates and thank you for your input and excitement as we work toward developing this gateway into our Downtown.

Project Overview


At their regular meeting on July 10, 2018, Council authorized staff to move forward with the request for proposals (RFP) process for the renovation and reuse of the Historic Train Depot and Site.

With the start of SMART passenger service and the anticipated completion of the Downtown SMART station expected in mid/late-2019, staff has begun to explore options for the renovation and reuse of the City-owned Depot and site (“Depot Lot”) to activate this new gateway into the Downtown.

Information on the Downtown SMART Station project is available at

Downtown Depot Request for Proposals (RFP) >>


The Historic Depot is located at the Downtown SMART Station, near the corner of Railroad Avenue at the easternmost end of Grant Avenue.

View project on an interactive map >>


The RFP was released on July 30, 2018. Once proposals are received, the City plans to host a public workshop/open house to share the results of the RFP process and get community feedback. For more information about the RFP process, please visit

The results collected from the community workshops, as well as an online survey, will inform the RFP and provide prospective proposers information about what the community wants at the site.

City staff conducted extensive engagement, outreach and information gathering from March to June 2018 to excite and engage the community in the process of what could be realized at the Depot site. The first community meeting was on Saturday, March 17 at Novato City Hall, 901 Sherman Avenue. The second meeting was held at the Depot site on Thursday, April 19.

Background Information

On June 27, 2017, the City Council requested staff to agendize an item to “develop options and a plan of action to renovate and reuse the Historic Depot located at Railroad and Grant Avenues in Downtown Novato.”

At their meeting on September 26, 2017, the City Council provided direction to begin outreach and information gathering on options for the renovation and reuse of the historic train depot and City-owned Depot Lot in Downtown Novato with cost for this initial process not to exceed $50,000.

Contact Info

Vicki Parker
Community Development Director

Chris Blunk
Public Works Director














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