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Los Angeles Port Economic Development Ideas

The Los Angeles Times has a detailed article about an economic development initiative in the Los Angeles Harbor:

The idea of anchoring a premier research center at the site now dominated by Westway Terminal Co., which operates 136 tanks on the San Pedro side of the harbor’s main channel, was first broached in 2001 amid concerns that such facilities could become terrorists’ targets.

But port officials, led by Knatz, a former marine biologist, have been promoting the proposed research center since the Los Angeles City Council voted in August to spend more than $17 million to eliminate the 13-acre Westway operation and pay to clean up the soil beneath the tanks at the Port of Los Angeles’ City Dock No. 1.

No specific development plan exists, but the site is attracting interest.

The research center is one of several ideas for a secluded collection of abandoned warehouses, weed patches and storage tanks.

“We’re only in the conceptual phase,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday. “But this is an exciting and innovative idea with the potential to create jobs, improve the quality of life and give back to Los Angeles schoolchildren. We’d like to get moving on this.”

The Los Angeles Business Journal also reports on the idea:

The site, adjacent to downtown San Pedro, is a key battleground in the port’s waterfront development efforts and planners expect the high-level research facility to be a catalyst for the area’s economic resurgence.

“We have this vision of a premier research institution that attracts people from around the world,” Knatz said. “We’re talking about bringing a new industry to San Pedro and new jobs. These are good, high-paying jobs that would be a boost to the San Pedro economy.”

Interestingly, neither article mention the presence of an existing Enterprise Zone in the area, the Los Angeles Harbor Area EZ, which does not expire until 2009.

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