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San Leandro - Next Generation Workplace District

Client: City of San Leandro

In the postwar era, factory jobs and revenues from the city’s “flatlands” industrial areas fueled suburban prosperity.  But as plants closed in the 80’s, built spaces shifted from production to warehousing and barren streets made it hard to attract “value-added” firms and workers.  FTS and Spinnaker Strategies were engaged by the city to talk to stakeholders, identify assets and needs, develop market- and place-specific strategic actions, and help start a re-visioning of the districts’ innovation-driven potentials for the next generation.

A spine development concept linking anchor sites and freeway interchanges with opportunity sites and a district business center.


Typical images of the district's storage-dominated land use and place character.

  • San Leandro’s industrial areas are a quarter of the city’s area (2,000+ acres) with 2/3 of its jobs.
  • Though vacancies are less than 5%, over 60% of spaces are in storage uses with low “value-added” and employment per square foot.
  • Old buildings, poor connectivity and few amenities give the district an outmoded image.
  • Fiber optic internet arrived in 2013 and a $1B Kaiser Hospital campus will open here in 2014.


  • Evaluate the districts’ competitive characteristics in relation to nearby industrial districts.
  • Develop phased strategic “business ecosystem” and placemaking moves to reposition them for innovation-driven business trends.
  • Present findings to a community meeting and the City Council, and prepare a summary report.


Completed on time and on budget

  • The study identified 3 “urban manufacturing” clusters and recommended stronger city engagement, partnerships and marketing.
  • An array of targeted placemaking and connectivity improvements were recommended around activity anchors and business clusters. 
  • The report was presented at a well-attended community meeting on October 2, 2013.

In collaboration with:

Spinnaker Strategies, Edward Kamp