SAN LEANDRO — This small town between Oakland and Hayward is coming out of the downturn like few places around, attracting tech startups, artists and brewers to a onetime traditional industrial hub.
“San Leandro is embracing change for the first time in decades,” said Deborah Acosta, the city’s first innovation officer.
The boom is the result of a happy convergence of action and resources — available long-vacant or underused manufacturing sites; a businessman who financed a fiber optic loop in city-owned conduit and the city jumping into a public-private partnership with him, the first of its kind in the Bay Area; and using broadband to lure tech firms.
San Leandro also has been aggressively marketing its lower rents, proximity to the Oakland airport and port, and willingness to work with businesses.
“We really do put an emphasis on smoothing the permitting process and letting businesses know, ‘Hey, we’re really excited you’re here,'” said Jeff Kay, San Leandro’s business development manager. For more than a year, the city has waived business license fees for new companies.