Our History

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.

City Dock No. 1

The Port of Los Angeles City Dock No. 1, home of the AltaSea campus, was constructed in 1913 and successfully brought the Los Angeles waterfront to the international stage, with people, goods and ideas flowing in and out to the world. AltaSea will build on that legacy. We invite you to join in the excitement and engage with AltaSea, so together we can create a lasting and positive contribution to the future of the ocean and humankind.

The Timeline

Center for Innovation Ribbon Cutting at Berth 58

On May 29th, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass cut the ribbon at AltaSea’s Berth 58—officially opening AltaSea’s Center For Innovation and welcoming in an era of sustainable, ocean-based science, business, and education in the Port of Los Angeles.

Groundbreaking for the Center for Innovation

In the works since the idea hatched in the early 2000s, AltaSea is using historic port warehouses that are more than 100 years old across from Warehouse One. The research, education and workforce/innovation center will focus on ocean-based solutions to climate change.

Onsite Solar Array Completed

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and LA City Councilman Tim McOsker joined AltaSea staff and board members to celebrate the completion of AltaSea’s rooftop solar array. The solar panels provide enough energy to power AltaSea’s 35-acre campus as well as 700 nearby homes.

West Campus Renovation Begins

Once completed, AltaSea will become an urban, ocean-focused institute where Blue Economy innovators work together. Inside the West Campus’ four warehouses, there will be 225,000 square feet of laboratories, research facilities, and hands-on educational and job skills development areas.

Major Funding Enables Construction

AltaSea received $6 million in funding from the State of California which was matched by $6 million from the Port of Los Angeles. This will allow us to begin construction of the Berth 58 Center for Innovation!

The First Blue Hour

AltaSea hosts its first Blue Hour, which would go on to become an annual fundraiser connecting science, arts, and the diverse Los Angeleans to tell the stories of the blue economy and raise funds for AltaSea’s education programs.

Braid Theory moves to Berth 59

Braid Theory, a sustainable blue economy business innovator, established itself on the AltaSea campus as an Advisory and Accelerator tenant.

Campus Expansion

AltaSea officially takes possession of the three warehouses on City Dock No. 1 with deep-water dock access—-Berths 58, 59 and 60.

Launching Classroom Programs

AltaSea, along with partners the Boys and Girls Club (the Club), Ocean Exploration Trust, and Los Angeles Maritime Institute, founded the LA Waterfront STEM Education Network to bring hands-on STEM lessons to middle and high school students. AltaSea and the Club also formed a long-term partnership for a youth job training program.

First Tenants on Campus

Catalina Sea Ranch became the first Sustainable Aquaculture tenant, and Braid Theory became the first tenant working in the Blue Economy. Additionally, AltaSea partnered with ocean explorer Dr. Bob Ballard and his Ocean Exploration Trust to provide STEM education programs to middle schools throughout LAUSD.

Gensler Design Unveiled

AltaSea and Gensler unveiled the design plans for AltaSea’s 35-acre campus. Gensler’s design for the campus won the LABC Conceptual Design Award, and Architectural Digest named it “one of the most exciting new projects in Los Angeles.

AltaSea expanded its partnership with the pioneering ocean explorer Dr. Bob Ballard

AltaSea expanded its partnership with the pioneering ocean explorer Dr. Bob Ballard and his organization Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), providing STEM education programs to middle schools in the Central, East and South Districts of the Los Angeles Unified School District. AltaSea’s partnership with OET also led Dr. Ballard to choose AltaSea for the winter home of his research vessel, E/V Nautilus.

Discovery Lecture Series Launched

AltaSea began partnering with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on a bi-monthly Discovery Lecture Series.

AltaSea becomes a 501 (c)(3)

AltaSea was incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization.