This time, it's a proposed marine research facility on the 28-acre site that has been home to environmentally unfriendly Westway Terminal Co. Inc. (the port bought out the remaining 18 years of Westway’s contract for $17 million). The new facility, which would be helped along by $50,000 in grant money from the Annenberg Foundation, is being peddled by the port's executive director, Geraldine Knatz, as a way of attracting more jobs to San Pedro. This is presumably part of the Port of L.A.'s massive waterfront improvement project, which includes a cruise ship promenade and perhaps more retail, hotels, etc. Of course, proposing something for San Pedro is one thing - getting approval is quite another. Knatz will introduce the research facility idea at a Harbor Commission meeting tonight. Bring your NoDoz. Here's more from the Business Journal, which posted the story this morning.
The proposed research facility would include academic laboratories, government research facilities and real estate for future maritime-related businesses – what planners are calling a “business incubator.” Ideally, Knatz said, the facility would become a global leader in the study of climate change and sea level rise. It is too early, she said, to estimate the cost or timeline of the project. The terminal is zoned for commercial activities and local business leaders envision an economic rebirth in San Pedro built, in part, around this new research institute.
The port already has a marine research facility known as the Southern California Marine Institute, which is a partnership of eight California State University schools, as well as USC and Occidental College. But with its cramped facilities hidden within Terminal Island, the institute has welcomed the idea of expanding its laboratory space and moving to a more attractive location along the Main Channel, which has almost 500,000 square feet of warehouse space and nearly 5,000 feet of wharf.