Harbor Commission Clears SpaceX for Launch of Aerospace Site at Port of LA

Eleventh Commercial Resupply Services Mission

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a lease today for SpaceX to establish a new aerospace research, design and manufacturing site on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles.

SpaceX originally sought to lease the port's space in 2018 and would have constructed a large warehouse for spacecraft recovery and repair, but the deal fell through when the company looked to move the project to Texas.

Spacecraft recovery could still take place at the site, but the altered plans would give the company the ability to ship large parts for rockets, as they cannot be transported by land, officials from SpaceX said.

“This is a historic and, in all respects, dilapidated and neglected site, so we were really motivated to see something beautiful and exciting happen,” Board President Jaime Lee said. “I just want to emphasize that the reason we've been able to give such favorable business terms ... compared to some of the other deals that we do here is with the expectation ... that SpaceX will be providing good, prevailing-wage, construction jobs and permanent jobs.”

Commissioners said they were excited about the project, but they also said they wanted SpaceX to follow through this time. The aerospace company plans to staff 130 engineering jobs, but it is not yet clear how many construction jobs will be needed.

During the last consideration, SpaceX estimated 700 jobs would be created at the site for construction and other needs.

“We were excited last time, and then ... you guys all left and had other plans, and now you're back, we're excited to have you back,” Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi said. “We're also excited about what's going to be the after-effect of your presence ... especially for jobs, for our kids.”

Pirozzi said that diversifying jobs at the port has been a high priority for the commission.

Commissioner Diane Middleton said she was concerned that the labor agreements between labor contractors and SpaceX may not be strong enough.

“I certainly will be very unhappy if there are disputes because of the failure of SpaceX to recognize how important it is to us to have good wages and working conditions,” Middleton said.

Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said the labor collaborative should ensure enough quality, local jobs come to the area.

“We have some ideas, but our friends in labor and the business community, our commissioners, our city officials also had many more ideas,” Seroka said. “We'll be exploring all that through this particular vehicle and many others.”

Representatives from various union organizations spoke in favor of the project, so long as it taps into the local workforce.

The lease for SpaceX is for $1.7 million annually for 10 years with two 10-year options to renew for a total rent of about $42 million for 30 years on the 12-acre site. Commissioners said they hope the site expands, as it could use an additional seven acres.

Depending on the remediation and rehabilitation of several historic buildings on the site, which SpaceX intends to use, the aerospace company could reap the benefit of tenant improvement credits.

The proposed SpaceX facility now heads to the City Council for consideration.

Photo: Getty Images

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