San Jose Mercury News has a great story by Rebecca Parr:
San Leandro entices tech startups, entrepreneurs
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.
The radio program Marketplace ran a nice story by Aaron Mendelson about San Leandro in their Tech section today.
Wannabe tech cities need angel investors, too
The suburb of San Leandro sits just east of Oakland, California, within striking distance of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Underneath the city lies a loop of ultrafast fiber optic cable known as Lit San Leandro. Data speeds through these cables about 2,000 times faster than a typical internet hookup.
The cable exists because of one guy: Pat Kennedy.
Kennedy runs OSIsoft, a company based in San Leandro. A few years ago, he was looking to expand, but he wanted the kind of infrastructure he saw in towns like Palo Alto. So he put down $3 million of his own money to make it happen in his backyard.
“The reason I did it is that I’ve actually been a 40-year resident of San Leandro,” Kennedy says.
It became clear to him that industrial cities like his were never going to be top picks for things like broadband or fiber. “We’re really going to suffer as a result,” Kennedy says.