2015 Year In Review
The past twelve months have yielded countless positive developments in San Leandro. Let’s celebrate some of our accomplishments this year:
Major Development Initiatives
Progress continued in 2015 on several major projects that will have a transformative impact on San Leandro:
- The Marea Alta Apartments began assembly of the modular units in October. This project will bring 200 residential units to Downtown San Leandro.
- The San Leandro Tech Campus began construction at the beginning of the year, with the first building scheduled for completion in 2016.
- Significant progress was made on the Shoreline Development Project. The Environmental Impact Report was certified and necessary changes to the General Plan map and Zoning map were adopted. Cal-Coast and the City are now working on the remaining entitlements and permits. Construction is projected to start as early as Summer 2017.
- The City initiated preparations of a plan to transform the area around Bayfair Center and the adjacent BART station into a vibrant and sustainable transit-oriented neighborhood, funded by a $440,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
- The City began a study for the San Leandro Creek Master Plan, funded by a $200,000 Caltrans grant awarded last year. The plan envisions a pedestrian-oriented and attractively designed trail through San Leandro to enhance the natural landscape and recreational experience of the creek.
Beautifying the City
San Leandro continued to support public art created by local artists by installing artwork wraps on utility boxes in several locations throughout the City–an initiative that will continue in 2016. We are currently seeking artists for the next round of this project.
As part of the $1.4m grant received for park improvements, the design phase of a new science-based interactive art exhibit in at Joaquin Plaza was initiated by the Exploratorium. The fabrication and installation phase is moving forward into next year. As part of the same grant, major improvements to Siempre Verde Park commenced in October, and enhancements to Thrasher Park are expected in the spring of 2016.
The San Leandro Improvement Association installed flower pots, tables, chairs, and umbrellas public plazas downtown, providing a welcome space for the public to take a quick break in the shade, or relax with a coffee and newspaper. The City also planted new flowers in the pots located on the corners of E. 14th Street and Dutton Avenue.
Retail, Restaurants, and Downtown San Leandro
Peet’s Coffee & Tea and AT&T joined The Village in 2015, as well as Chipotle on E. 14th and Juana Ave., adding to the activation of Downtown San Leandro. At Bayfair Mall, the highly anticipated DSW and Ulta Beauty opened their doors for business. Offering authentic, Hong Kong-style desserts, SweetHoney Dessert arrived at 1423 E. 14th Street in the fall. As vacancy rates decline and the economy continues to improve, additional restaurants have popped up in the past year, including GoGo Sushi & BBQ (699 Lewelling Boulevard), Jorge’s Mexican & American Restaurant (550 San Leandro Boulevard), Pho T&T (2050 Lewelling Boulevard), Saigon House (15001 Farnsworth Street), and Sharetea (699 Lewelling Boulevard).
San Leandro’s Craft Beer Cluster Expands
21st Amendment Brewery opened its new, 150,000 square foot brewery at 2010 Williams Street, the former Kellogg’s factory in June. This is one of the largest breweries in the Bay Area, initially brewing 100,000 barrels and eventually scaling to more than 250,000 barrels. As part of the grand opening festivities, 21st Amendment launched an inaugural brew, Toaster Pastry, which has received notable accolades.
Cleophus Quealy, celebrated its first anniversary on December 6th, marking a successful year of production of creative, top-quality beers.
San Leandro continued some of the community’s favorite traditions with a few more entertaining additions. Some of these were:
- The Cherry Festival returned in June, drawing impressive crowds and numerous vendors.
- The Sausage and Suds Festival in October continued to be a huge draw for Downtown.
- Downtown San Leandro Farmers’ Market held its 8th successful season, providing fresh produce while allowing local entities and community groups to promote their businesses through Merchant at the Market
- The annual It’s a Wonderful Night Holiday Celebration, produced by the Downtown Association, was held in Downtown San Leandro.
- From April 29 until May 3, Zero Net Energy Center hosted Solar Week–a five day event designed to demonstrate rapidly developing solar technologies.
- In September, the City partnered with the Westlake Urban, Chamber of Commerce, OSISoft, and UIXGlobal to host Transformation–an event celebrating the construction of the Tech Campus and how exploring public art, innovative technologies, transit and safe, people-focused places have become the key ingredients to successful economic, environmental and social transformation.
After the forming of Bay Area Advanced Manufacturing (BAAM) last year, the 3D-printing hub recently welcomed French additive manufacturer Sculpteo to its already impressive roster. Based at The Gate in San Leandro, BAAM is helping to solidify San Leandro’s role as a leader in the advanced manufacturing movement.
Across the street from the emerging Tech Campus, Ecopia Farms introduced a new and innovative urban farming concept to San Leandro. Ecopia grows certified organic micro-greens and micro-lettuces to be distributed to local and regional gourmet restaurants.
Technology and Innovation
Building on the success of Lit San Leandro, the City continued to expand the conduit installation funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. This project expands the Lit San Leandro fiber optic network to nearly 20 miles and reaches an additional 200 businesses. The City also completed a license agreement with the San Leandro Unified School District to share fiber connectivity with all 17 schools, providing them with a 10gbps fiber optic link.
Using the fiber optic network as a backbone, San Leandro made free Wi-Fi service available in the downtown area–specifically in the Village, Pelton Plaza, and Parrott Center.
In February, the Zero Net Energy Center was host to HardwareCon3, a two-day interactive experience structured to provide hardware entrepreneurs the necessary tools to grow great hardware-based businesses. The event was a great success and will return in 2016.
Working with the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, the San Leandro Unified School District, the San Lorenzo Unified School District, Eden Area ROP, the City of San Leandro launched Career Pathways which endeavors to connect students with career opportunities in industry. As a part of this initiative, local businesses Coca Cola, Kennerley-Spratling, Methods Machine Tools Inc., Peterson Cat, Scandic Springs, Mr. Plastics, Halus Power Systems, Oro Loma Sanitary District, and Borden Lighting, along with Chabot College, participated in East Bay Manufacturing Day, a program that shuttled 454 students to industrial sites and educated them in how to gain the necessary skill sets to enter the industrial workforce.
On December 2, the Founders Circle was launched. The Founders Circle is a collaborative effort between San Leandro businesses and top executives coming together to identify opportunities and challenges of their businesses in San Leandro. Thus far, the two foremost priorities are talent development for the workforce, and energy solutions.
Expanding Transportation Options
The LINKS Shuttle enhanced its services by increasing ride frequency and shortening wait times, shortening the time required for a round trip ride, and expanding the service area to reach businesses that previously had no access to LINKS, most notably on Marina Boulevard.
2015 was another amazing year in economic development, and there is much more in store for next year. We will post a 2016 preview during the first week of the new year.