Bio research complex proposed for harbor

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“We have an idea, and now we need to see if we can move this as a real concept.” SCMI – a consortium comprised of the University of Southern California, Occidental College and 10 California State University campuses – has studied marine biology at the Port of Los Angeles for about 50 years. However, the agency has outgrown the 11,000-square-foot Terminal Island space that it’s occupied for 25 years. “Simply getting a new facility at this point isn’t enough,” said Anthony Michaels, president of SCMI’s board of directors. “We need to think more boldly about what we can do with this opportunity and make sure it complements efforts to make this world a better place.” Michaels said he hopes to explore a variety of topics, such as global warming, pollution, biotechnology and how large cities with busy ports – such as Los Angeles – affect marine life. SAN PEDRO – A marine biology research complex may be built as part of an effort to revitalize the Harbor Area’s economic and education base, according to a plan by Los Angeles port officials. The proposed 28-acre oceanfront laboratory at City Dock No. 1 would serve as a new home to the Southern California Marine Institute, which would likely share the space with government researchers, marine-related businesses or environmental groups, said port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz. Costs, construction timelines and potential tenants are being worked out as part of an ongoing “visioning process” funded by a $50,000 matching-fund grant from the Annenberg Foundation, Knatz said. “I’m like a clam at high tide, I’m so excited about it,” said Knatz, who formally announce her vision late Wednesday during the Los Angeles Harbor Commission meeting. On a local scale, Knatz said she would like to see the facility grow into a learning center for residents and students. “The more we brainstorm, the bigger this gets,” Knatz said. The research facility would be built on land once occupied by Westway as part of a larger effort to revive San Pedro’s waterfront with commercial and recreational space. Storage tanks on the Westway property would be dismantled and cleanup is expected to begin in about 18 months as part of a settlement the company reached last month with the city. “With the Westways agreement in place and the fact we now have the space on City Dock 1 available, we figured it was a logical place for the institute,” Knatz said. “It’s an ideal site with great views and plenty of space that’s accessible to the community.” Knatz, SCMI officials and executives with the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce have been crafting the concept for several months with the hope of turning the idea into a “premier laboratory where the rest of the world comes for research,” said Camilla Townsend, chamber president and a former harbor commissioner. “It’s so appropriate for the largest port in North America to have a renowned marine research facility connected to it,” Townsend said. “It’s also an opportunity to bring sustainable jobs and a new work force to our community.” Advocates hope the research complex will reinvigorate economic growth in the Harbor Area by bringing back jobs that were lost when the fishing, canning and ship-building industries left the port during the 1970s. The loss of local jobs prompted local officials to rethink the future of San Pedro, according to Herb Zimmer of the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. “We want to bring in the creative, innovative jobs because the manufacturing jobs are long gone and don’t have a future here,” Zimmer said. “After all this time, we’ve been floundering around trying to find a new identity for the port – and here it is.” art.marroquin@dailybreeze.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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