LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The State of California and the Port of Los Angeles 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 square feet 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. 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,” said Senator Bradford (D-Gardena), who represents California's 35th State Senate District, including parts of South LA and the South Bay. “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.”
“I’ve seen AltaSea’s work up close – it’s already a hub for convening experts within critical fields of ocean preservation and education,” said Assemblyman O’Donnell, who represents California's 70th Assembly District in South LA County. “With this new state funding, these advances will have a new home that is worthy of the important work they’re doing.”
AltaSea’s growing campus is primed to be the hub of the emerging blue economy, creating new good-paying jobs, tackling climate change, and working to solve some of the most pressing issues in the marine environment. The blue economy, as estimated by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, will create well over 126,000 direct jobs in LA County alone, paying a combined $37.7 billion in wages by 2030. AltaSea recently announced that its campus will be home to the nation’s largest solar installation at an ocean research and development center.
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.
The Center of Innovation will focus on three Clusters: Aquaculture, Blue Technology, and Ocean Energy. The Aquaculture Cluster invites companies to develop sustainable food production, while preserving delicate marine ecologies and reducing global carbon emissions. Sustainable aquafarms will also help combat global hunger by providing a much-needed protein source. Companies in the Blue Technology Cluster will construct and use underwater robotics and other ocean exploration technologies. Technologies like these make vital marine conservation measures easier and more attractive to public and private sector partners. The developing Ocean Energy Cluster will focus on opportunities in kinetic wave energy, wind, and algae fuel technologies.
“Senator Bradford and Assemblyman O’Donnell are proven leaders in economic development, job training, education and environmental sustainability. They understand that growing the emerging Blue Economy and advancing research in the ocean will help stave off the worst impacts of climate change we face today,” said AltaSea CEO Tim McOsker. “The Center of Innovation at AltaSea will be a place where the private sector is able to team up with universities and high schools to advance education and workforce development, while at the same time developing the next generation of ocean-focused technologies.”
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 square feet 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.
“AltaSea’s focus on the rapid growth of the blue economy adds a new dimension to our pursuit of sustainable solutions and expands the diversity of jobs across our port ecosystem,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The blue economy will not only provide workers with pathways to sustain and grow their professional and personal lives, but these jobs will allow them to be a crucial part of the solution to some of the world’s most challenging issues, including climate change.”
About AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, located on 35 acres at North America’s leading seaport by both container volume and cargo value, is dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration, advancing an emerging blue economy through business innovation and job creation, and inspiring the next generation, all for a more sustainable, just, and equitable world.
For more information on AltaSea, please see our website: https://altasea.org.