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Fiber Loop: If We Build It Who Will Come?

Meeting at OSIsoft considers how San Leandro can take advantage of a new high-speed data highway being built by entrpreneur Patrick Kennedy.

More than 75 developers, land owners and policy makers met downtown Tuesday afternoon to discuss entrepreneur Patrick Kennedy's field of dreams -- an that will turn San Leandro into the most wired city in the East Bay.

Kennedy is , the company on Davis Street near the downtown BART station that is already one of the city's largest private sector employers.

In October, Kennedy to spend about $3 million of his own money to snake fiber optic cables through city-owned underground conduit. This will create a local data superhighway of the sort found in only two other Bay Area cities, Palo Alto and Santa Clara.

The event drew a standing-room-only crowd to an OSIsoft conference room, and kicked off an effort by city officials and business leaders to rebrand and reposition San Leandro as a high-tech destination.

Just as the railroads spurred commerce in the industrial age, high-speed data networks will attract new types of business, Kennedy said.

Examples include software firms, video game developers, media companies, Internet service businesses, drug discovery companies and so on.

Speakers at the two hour session included high-tech real estate broker Justin Reilly of the firm Cassidy Turley, a apecialist who finds locations for big Internet hubs in Silicon Valley.

"You have a tiger by its tail, and it's just going to take off," Reilly said.

City staff presented San Leandro as a community ready for business with nearly a quarter of its land zoned for industrial or commercial activity. Staffers also handed out a map of 25 buildings close to the loop that were good sites for data-intensive businesses.

Whether by luck or design, installation of the fiber began the Monday night before the event. Work should be finished within months.

But while the fiber loop has the potential to transform San Leandro, it will take time to attract new companies, one real estate broker said after the event.

"This is a five to 10 year process," said Stephen Kapp, a senior vice president with Cornish & Carey Commercial Realty in Hayward.

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barry harrison February 08, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I moved to San Leandro from San Francisco 5 years ago and this is the first time that I have felt truly optimistic about San Leandro's future. Kudos to Kennedy and Cassidy for their visionary thinking!
Chad Pennebaker February 08, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Do the 2nd & 3rd photo have anything to do with the story? The 2nd appears to be a small transformer to me. The 3rd looks like a coil in some kind of weird tooling fixture.
Tom Abate (Editor) February 08, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Chad: The second picture, I think because I didn't post it, is an item made by custom manufacturing and probably the third is one of these machines that "print out" or build parts in three dimensions. Such products rely upon huge data files, hence the Lit connection.
Marga Lacabe February 09, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Kudos to Kennedy for pushing forward his vision of wiring San Leandro. I wonder when Kennedy initially approached the city about this idea.
Leah Hall February 09, 2012 at 08:58 PM
After the loop, I hope we get some HOOPS "with nets" and all the other equipment and programing of a Bay Area downtown Y! :) http://oakland.ymcaeastbay.org/
Leah Hall February 09, 2012 at 09:25 PM
As many heard, the Oakland Y was in the news a couple of weeks ago, so I thought some would be interested in this update from the Y: "An unfortunate situation occurred Saturday January 28th, when Occupy Oakland protesters entered the Downtown Oakland YMCA. Police quickely secured the situation while staff escorted all members safely out of the facility. Minor damage to the facility occured during the disturbance, but operations are resuming as normal. Though the world may be unpredicatable, one thing remains certain - the Y is and always will be dedicated to building healthy, confident, secure and connected children, adults, families and communities. The Y is here to strengthen our community. With a focus on developing kids' potential, improving individual health and well-being, and giving back to our neighbors, your membership will bring about meaning change within yourself and your community!" -Downtown Oakland YMCA
Tom Abate (Editor) February 10, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Marga: I seem to recall mention that Kennedy first approached the city, and maybe the mayor in particular, January a year ago. The first reference I found on Patch was a May 2011 presentation. http://sanleandro.patch.com/articles/san-leandro-explores-fiber-optic-loop

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