Port of LA and State of California allocate $12 million for AltaSea R&D center

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gensler alta sea
Gensler developed this rendering for the AltaSea project about five years ago.

The State of California and the Port of Los Angeles say they have directed $12 million to AltaSea, a nonprofit corporation, to fund the construction of the West Coast’s largest blue economy ocean research and development center.

Berth 58 – the site of the initial 60,000 sq. ft. of the planned 180,000 feet of the Center of Innovation at AltaSea – will be the first fully renovated structure on AltaSea’s 35-acre campus at the Port of Los Angeles. The center will house ocean-focused businesses specializing in sustainable aquaculture, offshore renewable energy, and underwater robotics, as well as supporting educational and workforce development initiatives.

The project has been in planning stages for some time. Gensler produced renderings of the planned center in 2016.

California State Senator Steven Bradford and California State Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell led an effort to secure $6 million in state funding to match the Port of Los Angeles’ $6 million commitment. Construction on the Center of Innovation is anticipated to commence by mid-2022 and be completed in the first half of 2023.

“This commitment of state funding will help unlock important innovations that will help the people of this planet,”Bradford (D-Gardena), who represents California’s 35th State Senate District, including parts of South LA and the South Bay, said in a statement. “I am looking forward to AltaSea collaborating with our public schools to give students, especially in underserved communities, the opportunity to engage in innovative ocean STEM programs through workshops and internships. Investing in our young people is an essential part of environmental justice, and I am glad AltaSea will be expanding their ability to do so.”

AltaSea’s signed anchor tenants to occupy various locations on the 35-acre campus include the University of Southern California, the Southern California Marine Institute (made up of 23 universities, colleges, and institutes), Braid Theory, Holdfast Aquaculture, Montauk Technologies, and Pacific Mariculture.

Also among AltaSea’s tenants is famed oceanographer and explorer Dr. Robert Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and the research vessel Nautilus, which docks at AltaSea. Dr. Ballard is best known for his historic discoveries of hydrothermal vents, the sunken R.M.S Titanic, the German battleship Bismarck, and many other shipwrecks around the world. OET has plans to build a 10,000 square foot interactive research and educational center at AltaSea.

Recently the Port of Los Angeles agreed to advance the first $6 million of a $40 million commitment to AltaSea, allowing the non-profit to proceed with renovation of Berth 58, the site of the initial 60,000 sq. ft. of the planned 180,000 feet of the Center of Innovation. As a condition of this advance of funds, the Port requested AltaSea secure $6 million in matching funds. With the State of California’s $6 million funding, the funds have been secured to start construction.

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