What to Watch For In 2019
Here in San Leandro, folks can look forward to a busy and exciting 2019. In the coming year, a number of significant projects are expected to be moving forward – with a number of large projects under way, others proposed for review, and several transformative projects on the horizon.
Over the past years, the City and its property owners have been busy laying the groundwork for future development. Much planning work has been completed and applications filed, and the City has moved into implementation mode. In the past few years, the City completed a General Plan update, a Transit-Oriented Development Strategy for the Bayfair area, the most ambitious Capital Improvement Program in San Leandro’s history, and a Fiber Optic Master Plan that outlines smart city strategies. Based on the guidance of these documents, large private projects are now moving from vision to reality.
San Leandro’s economy remains strong, with businesses continuing to grow, new developments proposed across the city, and properties in high demand. Space in the industrial area is hard to come by, with manufacturing and warehouse vacancy rates consistently below 1.5%. New retail and restaurant businesses continue to open across town, reducing the retail vacancy rate from 5% to 3.4% over the past year.
There has been over $448 million in development permitted over the past three years alone. Over a million square feet of new industrial development is currently underway and over a thousand new housing units are approved or proposed in Downtown San Leandro and beyond. With a business friendly climate, easy transportation access, ultra high speed internet, and a diverse housing and employment base, San Leandro is a great place to grow a business.
See below for a snapshot of What to Watch for in 2019:
- San Leandro Tech Campus – development continues, with Westlake Urban’s construction of a second 132,000 square foot office building at 1600 Alvarado Street nearing completion. San Leandro-based manufacturer Ghirardelli Chocolate has announced that they will be leasing space in the new building.
- Construction of La Vereda, the second phase of the development at San Leandro Boulevard and West Juana Street, is almost complete, adding 85 affordable senior apartment units to the 115 family units already occupied at Marea Alta.
- Creekside Plaza – developer, Innisfree Ventures, has plans underway for a fourth Class A Office building at San Leandro Boulevard. and Davis Street.
- Various plans are also underway for redevelopment of existing buildings in Downtown, including in the office building at 1298 E. 14th Street, where tenant improvements are planned in the floors above the Wells Fargo branch. Check back for more updates on these projects.
- Parrott Street Apartments – nonprofit affordable housing developer Eden Housing continues plans to construct 62 affordable units at San Leandro Boulevard and Parrott Street. In January, 2017, the City approved $5 million in local affordable housing funds to this over $30 million project, which Eden is leveraging to finalize its financing and begin moving forward in 2019.
The following projects are among those proposed to come forward for public review in the coming year.
- Maximus Real Estate Partners – plans are being reviewed for a transit-oriented development of 687 multi-family housing units on 5.73 acres of vacant land at Alvarado and Antonio Streets. The site represents one of the largest remaining vacant properties in the City. The project will be considered at a public hearing by the Board of Zoning Adjustments at their meeting of March 7, 2019.
- Sansome Pacific – planning continues for redevelopment of the former CVS site at East 14th Street and Davis/Callan Streets, where the developer proposes to construct up to 200 housing units with ground floor retail (including a specialty grocery store).
- Langon Construction – this local developer purchased the former Redevelopment Agency properties at Parrott Street and Washington Avenue in 2017 and proposes to construct 26 for-sale condos with a 3,000 square foot retail space on the ground level. Langon also proposes a 20-unit townhome condo development at 311 MacArthur Boulevard.
In 2018, San Leandro’s industrial area continued to boom, with a number of Class A projects under construction and more than $250 million worth of property sales over the course of the year. Some of the many industrial projects continuing to move forward in 2019 include:
- San Leandro Business Center – After breaking ground in 2017, developer Trammell Crow is well underway in construction of three buildings amounting to over 550,000 square feet of Class A industrial space. Four murals have already been installed, and work is now underway on tenant improvements, to make the spaces ready for new tenants.
- Marina Gateway Center – Overton Moore Properties has invested $45 million to transform the former Georgia Pacific gypsum production plant at 2000 Marina Boulevard into a new 330,000 square-foot building, and to perform major site improvements. Construction and tenant improvements are well underway and, when completed, Torani, Inc. will be moving over 150 employees in its corporate and manufacturing headquarters to the new location. Torani plans to manufacture over 200 flavors of internationally distributed syrup and provide a cafe and tours open to the public.
- DCT Williams Corporate Center – Construction is nearly complete at 2001 Williams Street, where DCT Industrial is constructing a 75,000 square foot Class A Industrial building with hopes of attracting an advanced manufacturing or food processing user.
- Paceline Investors is preparing to construct a new approximately 150,000 square foot, $4.3 million Class A industrial building at Aladdin and Alvarado Streets.
The City and Cal-Coast Development continue to work on the comprehensive development plan for the Monarch Bay Shoreline Development Project, with a vision to create a regional destination that connects the community with the Bay and provides enhanced recreational and community amenities.
As proposed, the project will include enhanced recreational amenities, as well as a 200-room hotel, two restaurants, a banquet facility, a new Mulford-Marina Library facility, and up to 500 residential units. The development will provide a number of ways for residents and visitors to enjoy the shoreline, including parks, plazas, a pedestrian promenade, bike lanes, a boat launch area, public art and environmental education.
Next steps for the project include finalizing the project proposal and design, which will go through a public review process with the City, as well as regional agencies such as the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Negotiations pertaining to a Development Agreement are currently underway.
Bay Fair Transit Oriented Development Plan
After two years of planning and extensive public input, the final Bay Fair Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Specific Plan and related environmental impact report (EIR) was adopted by the City Council on February 20, 2018. The Plan creates a 20-year vision to transform the Bay Fair BART Station area into a vibrant and sustainable mixed use community. The plan contains ideas and policies to improve the half-mile area around the Bay Fair BART station over time by providing new housing opportunities, a modernized shopping experience, and improved pedestrian and bike access.
The Plan represents the final planning component for the City’s East 14th Street corridor that includes the 2004 East 14th Street South Area Development Strategy and 2007 Downtown TOD Strategy, and connects to Alameda County TOD planning efforts to the south in Ashland, Cherryland, and Eden Area. By adopting the Plan, the City will also be eligible for future public funding opportunities (e.g. infrastructure) from federal, State, and regional agencies that target and prioritize TOD areas. Following completion of the plan, the area has been designated a Federal Opportunity Zone, which provides tax incentives for investing the in area and is already generating interest in the development community.
The Plan contains recommended short-term, medium-term and ongoing implementation actions. Some key short-term next steps include amending the Zoning Code and General Plan based on the plan recommendations and creating a partnership with BART and Alameda County to address ongoing community concerns, such as traffic, parking, and public safety.
Over the past couple of years, San Leandrans have celebrated the arrival of many new restaurants and can expect a continuation of that trend in the coming year. New restaurants will include:
- Antigua Coffee Shop and Papaito Rotisserie will be filling the vacancy left by Creekside Bistro at 500 Davis Street, creating an original dual-concept restaurant experience.
- Top Hatters Kitchen is completing major renovations to the former hat shop space at 599 MacArthur Boulevard, where chef Danvy Vu will serve her seasonal rustic cuisine first made popular at her Go Streatery food truck.
- Indian Grill has plans underway to open in the former Ploughman’s space at 1600 Washington Avenue.
- Chinese restaurant Manor Point Kitchen is also expected to open its doors, specializing in roast duck and pork at 15052 Farnsworth Street.
The City continues to implement the Downtown Parking Management Plan, which has been recognized with the 2018 Public Parking Program of the Year and the 2018 Wayne Dalton Award for Outstanding Professional Service by the California Public Parking Association. The City has also been nominated for the 2019 Award for Customer Service Excellence from the Parking Industry Expo.
Recent updates include the recently designated Employee Parking Permit Area on the East side of Hays Street between West Juana Avenue and West Estudillo Avenue, where parking signs now indicate that Employee Parking Permit holders with a valid permit can park all day in this area. In addition, on January 22, 2019 new “smart” parking meters were put into operation in Pelton Plaza and on West Juana Avenue between E. 14th Street and Hays Street, enabling customers to pay for parking via credit card, Apple Pay, ParkMobile, and coin.
For more parking information, visit www.parkSL.com.
Public Art & Beautification
A number of public art projects are planned or underway in 2019.
Following the completion of the Public Arts Master Plan in 2017, the San Leandro Arts Commission awarded its first Arts Commission Grants in 2019. There were eleven recipients this round, whose combined grant awards total $31,200. Plans are also underway for a mural to arrive at the public dog park located along the Bay Trail near the intersection of Fairway Drive and Blue Whale Street, adjacent to the golf course.
Early this year, a final collection of utility boxes will receive original art. Upon completion, San Leandro will be home to a total of 70 beautified utility boxes. All utility box art can be viewed on the City’s Public Art web page.
As part of the City’s Mural Program, the fifth and final mural is expected to be installed at the Downtown BART station in late 2019. Following a public process to select an artist, the mural will be installed on the sub-station building, once ongoing maintenance is complete. Check out the video about the 2017 Mural Program here.
Following the completion of several high-profile pieces as a part of the City’s Mural Program, several private murals have also arrived. Four vibrant murals, entitled Hands of Change, were recently completed at the San Leandro Business Center (100 Halcyon Drive). The theme of the murals center around the concept of hands as a metaphor for people and the community, as well as the four seasons as a metaphor for the local region’s history and natural cycles of change and rebirth. In addition, 21st Amendment Brewery has also installed a striking mural on the front of its building. It is exciting to see these murals arriving, which is a testament to the community’s enthusiasm surrounding public art.
San Leandro can expect another busy year in 2019, with great opportunities coming for new businesses, new housing, and new amenities in San Leandro. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year!