LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles port officials on Monday unveiled plans to create a $500 million marine research center called AltaSea.
The project, developed through a public-private partnership between the port and universities, will be built on a 100-year-old wharf on the San Pedro waterfront.
Officials cited Los Angeles' urban environment as a reason to invest in research at the port, which had been looking to diversify its uses — in addition to cargo — for years. The facility will have direct harbor and ocean access.
AltaSea, previously dubbed "City Dock No. 1," will take 15 to 20 years to complete, using 28 acres to house labs with circulating seawater, classrooms and support facilities.
The new research center will make LA the "premier location for addressing ocean-related environmental issues that are not only important to Southern California, but to the world," said outgoing mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa said the partnership was expected to create jobs and lure new industries.
The center will be built in two phases. The first phase, which will cost $155 million and is anchored by the Southern California Marine Institute, is expected to be completed in 2018. Funding includes a $25 million gift from the Annenberg Foundation to kick off the development.
Officials said the AltaSea project will create 1,087 construction jobs, and the second phase will create an additional 4,161 jobs.
The development's environmental impact report was approved by the harbor commission in October.