Last year was momentous for AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, with milestone achievements that will shape future success in 2019 and for years to come. Our dream is that AltaSea and the work of its partners will be a catalyst for waterfront renovation, a jobs creator, and an economic development jump-start for the entire region.
But, for those who may not be familiar, a little background: AltaSea is a nonprofit, public benefit company that has leased 35 acres from the Port of Los Angeles at City Dock 1. The site includes the historic warehouses and former Westways Terminal at the bottom of 22nd Street, next to Warehouse 1 and the Port Pilot Station. It is a spectacular location on the Main Channel, close to the breakwater and Angel’s Gate lighthouse.
The vision of AltaSea is to develop a world-class campus of marine and ocean science, business innovation, and community education and engagement – all dedicated to discovery and the preservation of our ocean resources. The first phase of campus development is in three projects: (1) the adaptive reuse of Warehouses 58, 59, and 60 for businesses that are engaged in aquaculture (ocean farming) and blue tech (underwater robotics); (2) the renovation and improvement of Warehouse 57 for the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI), a consortium of 23 universities, colleges, and institutes; and (3) new construction of an iconic engagement center, designed by the world renowned architectural firm, Gensler.
Work on AltaSea has already begun by activating the existing warehouses and wharf on the East Channel. Over the past twelve months, we have secured significant tenants to the site including Boeing (and its ocean exploration submarine, the Echo Voyager), Catalina Sea Ranch (ocean farmers), Blue Robotics (creators of small, ocean robots), and others. We have welcomed innovators and ocean researchers to our docks, such as Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), National Geographic, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition, AltaSea has partnered with the Ocean Exploration Trust, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, the L.A. Maritime Institute, and other educators at all levels of study.
The bold vision of an AltaSea campus is coming to life, where the best of business, science, and education come together to protect the oceans for future generations, while accelerating our economy, and inspiring the next generation of scientists.
Last August, we reached a significant funding milestone that allowed AltaSea to take possession of a large portion of the site and proceed to the first project in phase one – the renovation of our three historic warehouses, home to the aquaculture and blue tech business clusters.
Our 180,000-square-foot warehouse complex will be called the Center of Innovation. With this first project, AltaSea will create jobs in new ocean industries, and develop a pipeline to better careers for students in the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor communities. These are the “Blue Economy” jobs that will provide opportunity and prosperity to future generations.
Later this year, AltaSea will release bid documents and award construction contracts for the Center of Innovation. Work will take a little less than a year, after which the entire space will be available for tenants, jobs, and community education and engagement experiences.
All this progress shows that AltaSea has advanced from a wonderfully audacious idea into a tangible reality. But none of it would be possible without the support of our friends, benefactors, and this community. Significant support has come from the City family, most especially Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Port of Los Angeles, and Councilmember Joe Buscaino. The AltaSea team is grateful for the progress of 2018. Together we have come so far, and together we will complete the full vision of AltaSea.
Tim McOsker is the CEO of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.