Why San Leandro – Development Breakfast Highlights Local Strengths
On Friday, November 4, 2022, the City of San Leandro hosted a Development Breakfast at the Gate510. At the event, developers and businesses shared their perspective on Why San Leandro – why the community is a great place in which to invest, build and do business.
City leaders and staff kicked off the event providing an overview of San Leandro demographics, development trends, and policy actions, followed by speakers from the housing, commercial and innovative business fields. Over 50 attendees joined from all over the Bay Area, representing firms such as CBRE, Colliers, Duke Realty, Prologis, Retail West, Reynolds & Brown, Transwestern, and more, and the response was positive all around.
Why San Leandro
San Leandro is a proud and resilient community that strives to be a vibrant, diverse, and forward-looking place for this generation and the next. San Leandro has always been a city where We Make Things and we continue to build upon our deep manufacturing history with exciting businesses pushing the envelope in advanced manufacturing, hardware, food innovation and clean technology.
San Leandro is conveniently located, with easy access to transportation, and expansive business community, ultra-high-speed internet, and an accessible housing base. Over the past years, San Leandro has taken a number of policy steps to support the development of housing for its over 90,000 residents. San Leandro has also consistently supported businesses and its strong industrial sector – which add value to the community through good and steady jobs, products, services, and tax revenue. As a business-friendly City, we stand ready to assist businesses so that they can get things done.
Housing – Centro Callan
The City of San Leandro is diligently working to support housing developments that meet the evolving needs of its community. San Leandro has approved more than 2,000 new housing units in the last few years, and three affordable housing developments have been completed, adding over 250 affordable housing units. The City is streamlining the process for housing around transit in Downtown and the Bayfair area through the adoption of Multi-Family Objective Standards, a new Housing Element, proposed Zoning Code updates, and an upcoming Impact Fee Study.
The Martin Group‘s Justin Osler shared the story of Centro Callan – the new housing and retail project that recently broke ground at 1188 E. 14th Street. With nearly 200 units of housing and retail on the ground floor (including a Sprouts Farmers Market), Centro Callan will be the first, true mixed-use Transit-Oriented Development in Downtown San Leandro.
Osler shared The Martin Group’s reasons for investing in San Leandro – including the resilience of the local community and economy, with a strong base of recession-resistant businesses in the industrial sector. He also highlighted San Leandro’s big town, little city identity, “bringing together the energy and culture of an urban center with the pace and familiarity of one’s hometown.”
Commercial – Kaiser North
With most of the inner Bay Area already developed for decades, large infill opportunities are rare – and valuable – and provide opportunities to bring modern services, retail and housing to more centralized and accessible locations.
JLL‘s Jeff Badstubner spoke about the Kaiser North Parcel, a nearly 25-acre property owned by Kaiser Permanente which recently came on the market. JLL is managing an RFQ/RFP to attract developers to this site, which has tremendous potential to serve as a retail and service center in the industrial area. The site is ideally located along Marina Boulevard, right off the I-880 freeway, and is governed by a Development Agreement from 2010 which allows for either a mixed use or all retail concept. A mixed use scenario could bring up to 387,000 square feet of retail alongside 250 residential units, or a 210-room hotel. A solely retail approach would allow up to 432,000 square feet of retail uses.
The Kaiser site is one of the largest vacant parcels located along I-880, and it’s a gateway to San Leandro’s busy industrial area and the Marina Auto Row. With over 237,000 vehicles passing the site daily and over 14,000 employees in the nearby area clamoring for goods and services, there is great potential for regional retail, service and hotel uses at the site.
Business Innovation – Gate510 & Cuberg
Having solidified its reputation as a manufacturing epicenter in the 20th century, San Leandro has transformed into a hotspot for 21st century innovation and technology. Gate510, a successful innovative business hub above the Westgate Shopping Center, is home to many of the area’s advanced manufacturing, cleantech, biotech, and foodtech entrepreneurs.
B3 Investors’ Gerris Wilkinson, gave an overview of the Gate510’s evolution over time and its plans to recruit more STEM-based tenants. B3 Investors highlighted San Leandro’s offering of the “missing middle” for the innovative business market, both geographically and logistically, and sees great potential in attracting more STEM-based and clean-tech companies to the community.
Richard Wang of Cuberg, one of Gate510’s more recent and notable tenants, spoke next. Cuberg manufactures innovative light-weight batteries, initially with the goal of powering small aircraft. Wang named proximity to talent, as well as access to heavier industrial infrastructure among the reasons why Cuberg decided to set down roots in San Leandro.
Lastly, Dr. Gregory Theyel of the Biomedical Manufacturing Network presented a birds-eye view of the local start-up and growth market in biomedical and bio-tech fields. Biotech companies form an important part of the Bay Area business ecosystem, offering a range of good jobs and driving health improvements and innovation. Over the past several years, a growing number of biotech companies have located in Alameda County, due to the good quality of life, large and well-educated talent pool, and outstanding universities and national laboratories in the area.
With close proximity to biotech hubs to the north and south that are highly priced and running out of space, Theyel confirmed that San Leandro is well-positioned to provide space for biotech companies who are moving from the start up phase and expanding their business. The number of biotech companies in San Leandro increased from only several in 2014, to over 10 in 2020, and more continued to open throughout the pandemic.
Your Local Business Advocate
San Leandro’s Economic Development team supports businesses and developers large and small, helping them to connect with resources and understand the development approval process. We also provide information about valuable business resources, such as free technical assistance, funding opportunities, and hiring assistance. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-577-3311.