Doors from San Pedro’s warehouse past help pay for future ocean research

By DONNA LITTLEJOHN | | Daily Breeze

The Doors to the Future campaign at AltaSea dedicates historic warehouse doors in
honor of donors. Doors are purchased for $150,000 each. This week, Los Angeles City
Councilman Joe Buscaino made a donation to dedicate a door to the 15th Council
District he represents. There are 44 doors altogether at the marine research campus
being developed in San Pedro’s Outer Harbor. Photo credit: Taso Papadakis

A piece of century-old port history — now part of a groundbreaking marine
research campus in the making — is the latest fundraising campaign launched by AltaSea in San Pedro and this week received its eighth $150,000 donation.
“Doors to the Future,” which adds donor names on doors to the historic port
warehouses now being re-purposed as AltaSea’s new home, began in January
with the idea of “selling” 12 doors a year (there are 44 altogether on the string of warehouses on Signal Street). On Thursday, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino announced his donation to sponsor and name Door 15 for the 15th City Council district he represents.

The $150,000 per-door donations can be made in one payment or in $30,000
payments over the course of five years.

The first door, appropriately, was bought by and named for former Port of Los
Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz who first envisioned the idea of
bringing together a consortium of universities on the port’s Outer Harbor to
conduct ocean research. Other doors have been donated by Tim and Neva
Disney, Morton La Kretz, Wayne Blank, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert
Foundation and Gafcon.

Also this week, Andeavor, which operates the largest refinery on the west coast
in Wilmington and is a major producer of clean fuels, presented AltaSea with a
$100,000 donation at Thursday’s State-of-the-District speech by Buscaino. The speech, sponsored by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, was held in the main AltaSea warehouse.

The company, said AltaSea CEO Tim McOsker, was “impressed with our teaching program” in STEM-based subjects, including a “teaching the teachers” curriculum and work with the Boys and Girls Club. The company, he said, also is interested in the research issues that AltaSea is pursuing.

AltaSea began in 2007 with a private foundation study. A 50-year lease for City
Dock No. 1, constructed in 1913, was signed by the Los Angeles harbor
department in 2013. The lease included a $57 million capital investment for site rehabilitation by the port.

The 35-acre campus will provide space for ocean researchers and scientists,
along with education and business incubators. Among the tenants in place
are Robert Ballard’s Nautilus and Boeing’s robot submarine Echo Voyager. The La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator and Southern California Marine Institute also are tenants.

AltaSea sits across from a Terminal Island dock where SpaceX will be building its Big Falcon Rocket.

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