The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends
Environment & Science

100-year-old LA Port pier to become mega modern marine research center

Screenshot via

There's been a swell development on the L.A. waterfront. 

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Port of L.A. officials announced Monday plans  to transform a 100-year-old San Pedro pier into an "urban marine research and innovation center" called AltaSea

Officials said development of the 28-acre campus — situated at the Port of L.A.'s City Dock No. 1 — will be developed "through a public-private partnership between the Port, a non-profit organization, and a host of regional public and private universities."

The center will include labs with circulating seawater, classrooms and other modern support facilities. The vision of the center is to unite "marine science, education, business and community," says AltaSea on its website.

A wave of funding has given AltaSea the nudge it needs to begin Phase 1, which is estimated to cost $155 million. Financial commitments currently total $57 million:

  • $32 million in site-related capital investments by the Port of Los Angeles
  • $25 million gift by the Annenberg Foundation

The rest of the money is expected to come from private philanthropic donations, grants, and other sources, says the Port of L.A. Estimated completion date for Phase 1 is 2018. 

The two-phase project — expected to drain investors of approximately $500 million by the time it's done — should take about 15 to 20 years to complete, and could create 1,000 construction jobs.

Site development details are outlined on AltaSea's website: 

State-of-the-art facilities approved through the California environmental process to include:

  • 4,100 linear feet of waterfront dock and wharf space with direct harbor and ocean access.
  • Multiple deep draft berths to accommodate large research vessels.
  • Circulating seawater and marine life support system throughout the facility.
  • Flexible and expandable research, analysis and teaching laboratories located directly on the harbor to allow immediate water access for marine science programs.
  • Over 200,000 square feet of clear span adaptable research and development space for scientists, researchers, business incubators and entrepreneurs.
  • Common support facilities including analytical sea-water lab, machine shop, dive locker and vessel maintenance.
  • Interpretive Center for school field trips and community outreach.
  • Auditorium and classrooms for education and community programming.
  • Future capability for the only natural saltwater wave tank for the most accurate wave and tsunami simulations.
  • Public harbor promenade and dedicated open space.
  • Opportunity to develop and add flexible facilities for growing partnerships.
  • Environmentally conscience design to minimize energy and water usage.