San Leandro was first visited by Europeans on March 20, 1772 by Spanish soldier Captain Pedro Fages and the Spanish Catholic priest Father Crespi. Forty-eight years later, to increase settlement and strengthen their claim to the Bay Area, the Spanish gave to retired Spanish soldier Don LuÃs MarÃa Peralta a 43,000 acre (174 kmÂ²) land grant which he named Rancho San Antonio. In 1842, Don JosÃ© JoaquÃn Estudillo, also a retired Spanish soldier (for whom Estudillo Ave. is named), was granted 7,000 acres (28 kmÂ²) of land in the San Leandro area, which he named Rancho San Leandro.
During and after World War II, San Leandro underwent explosive population growth. For example, from 1940 to 1950, and again from 1950 to 1960, the population doubled and thousands of homes sprang up in the community. In addition to population growth, from April 1942 to October 1965, 87 industrial parcels were annexed to the City, in addition to 27 other non-industrial tracts. Following the war, San Leandro’s manufacturing and commercial sectors continued to expand. New shopping centers, such as the Pelton Center on East 14th Street, were opened to meet the expanding residential demand for commercial services. Even the city government underwent change, as the San Leandro charter was revised in 1947 and a new zoning law was passed.
By the late 1960s, the city was largely built out, with almost no land available for development or annexation. Because many of the residents who moved to San Leandro in the 1950s and 1960s have stayed here, San Leandro as of 2007 has a large elderly population, although increasing numbers of families with children have begun moving into the city. In the 1980s, the community’s diversity grew as African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics also began moving into the city. In addition, the industrial makeup of the city has been changing, moving away from its traditional manufacturing base toward more of an emphasis on services and warehousing industries.
San Leandro became a more diverse city with the massive development of apartment buildings. This diversity has continued to increase, and currently San Leandro is one of the most racially diverse cities in California.
The City’s Business Development Mission is to improve San Leandro’s quality of life by encouraging reinvestment and economic growth through retention and expansion of existing businesses and attraction of new industry, which will enhance the local tax base and provide services that increase the standard of living for all San Leandro residents.
The City of San Leandro is committed to supporting business development efforts and, as a result of our approach, San Leandro has gained a reputation as a business-friendly community. The Business Development team stands ready to assist you, whether it’s identifying potential locations for your facility through community site visits or providing specific information to assist you in the decision-making process. Our staff is a direct link to regional and state programs designed to assist your company, such as Industrial Development Bonds or Employee Recruitment and Training Incentives. In addition, the Business Development staff works closely with the Community Development Department in assembling background information for your project’s application.
Economic development efforts are carried out by the Office of Business Development, a division of the City Manager’s Office. Business Development staff administers the Redevelopment Agency and Economic Development Agency and act as the City’s liaison to the business community.