Los Angeles is looking to become a greentech manufacturing and innovation hub with a proposed 20-acre complex in the city's downtown, the head of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency said Wednesday.
The site can accommodate up to one million square feet of manufacturing facilities, and a portion of that space will be reserved for a greentech incubator, said Cecelia Estolano, CEO of the city agency, at the Cleantech Forum in Washington, D.C.
The city famed for its movie industry and stalking paparazzi wants to be ready to attract greentech companies as utilities rush to meet a state mandate requiring power companies to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, for one, will invest about $5 billion in alternative energy to achieve the goal, Estolano said.
To attract tenants to the new hub, the redevelopment agency plans to offer a variety of incentives, including tax credits and favorable lease terms, Estolano said. The agency also can work with the water and power department to reduce the tenants' power bills.
The agency purchased the land from the State of California in April for $14 million and has since cleaned up the area, which was polluted by previous tenants that included a bus manufacturer and a rail yard operator.
With the site now ready for construction, the redevelopment agency is figuring out what types of greentech business would be a good fit for the hub, which will be called the Cleantech Manufacturing Center.
Later this month, the agency will begin soliciting proposals from interested companies.
"Based on those responses we will then do a more focused request for proposals in January of 2009," Estolano said.
The agency already has created some of the selection criteria. Among its criteria: The center will only house manufacturing operations that won't pollute the environment, she said.
It will also seek to include at least one major tenant that can occupy 100,000 to 400,000 square feet.
Estolano said that the agency is looking for a university or company to run the incubator on the site. She said the agency is currently talking with local universities such as the California Institute Technology and the University of California in Los Angeles, as well as other non-university organizations.
The agency, which will oversee the center's construction, plans to break ground by 2010.
Estolano said some of the local initiatives will make Los Angeles a magnet for greentech companies.
The Port of Los Angeles, for example, implemented a clean air action plan last October. The plan calls for eliminating 16,000 dirty diesel trucks from the port within five years. Companies that set up manufacturing centers in the city could have a competitive edge when they compete for contracts with the port, Estolano said.