Port of Los Angeles to Develop Marine Research Center
Environmental and Project Approvals Advance Visionary Concept.
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission today certified the final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed redevelopment of City Dock No. 1 and approved the framework for bringing a world-class marine research center to the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles.
The action sets the stage for creation of a state-of-the-art waterfront research institute where leading scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs can collaborate on solutions to today’s marine, environmental and maritime industry challenges.
“This is an important step toward realizing the vision of a cutting-edge academic research facility that will be at the forefront of marine-oriented research and development,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph. D. “City Dock No. 1 has the potential to advance our interaction with the ocean ecosystem and help the Port, stakeholders and City of Los Angeles meet the next generation of environmental challenges and research opportunities.”
The project calls for a 28-acre campus on the Port’s oldest municipal pier to serve as a center for ocean-related research, education, business development and green technology. The anchor tenant would be the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI) – a consortium of Occidental College, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, the Ocean Studies Institute representing eight California State University campuses, and affiliated marine research and conservation organizations. SCMI currently occupies a much smaller site at Berth 260 on Terminal Island.
Development and identification of outside funding for the project is the next step. In May, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission adopted a resolution supporting the development of an independent California Nonprofit Corporation, with the capabilities to implement the proposed research center in collaboration with potential project users and tenants, in order to enter into a lease with the Port to develop, operate and maintain the facility.
The first phase, estimated at $63 million, calls for converting the warehouse at Berth 57 into a cutting-edge educational and research facility where SCMI would relocate. Additional elements include a public interpretive center, auditorium and lecture hall at Berth 56.
The second phase, estimated at $353 million, calls for renovating Berths 58-60 into additional space for marine research and a marine science business park/incubator to promote marine-based green technology and marine-related businesses. Additional elements include redevelopment of Berths 70-71 to create a local base for state and federal agencies; and a large natural seawater wave tank for scientific and commercial research.
The project would breathe new life into a historic section of the Port, bringing more knowledge-based job opportunities to the area. Once operational, the center would be a major economic engine, generating hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in annual wages and taxes.
The Port began exploring the idea of a marine research center in 2007 when it received a $50,000 matching grant from the Annenberg Foundation. The initial study, undertaken with SCMI, prompted the Port to include the concept in its San Pedro Waterfront Plan adopted in 2009.
“This is a transformational project that would further diversify the Port job base and bring new opportunities to our harbor communities,” said Knatz.
The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port. A brighter future.