The AltaSea project began with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation to conduct a visioning study for the new home of the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI), which was to be moved from its Terminal Island headquarters. Work on the project initially focused on securing a 50-year lease with the City of Los Angeles. The lease was executed and included a $57 million capital investment for site rehabilitation by the Harbor Department. Soon after, AltaSea convened a group of top Los Angeles business leaders, civic leaders and philanthropists to create a Board of Trustees to oversee the organization, construction project and capital campaign. AltaSea assumed its status as a stand-alone nonprofit corporation and the Board of Trustees approved the Gensler-designed campus plan.