A 1952 Star-Kist Cannery building on Terminal Island was granted a reprieve Thursday, March 10, when Port of Los Angeles officials announced that planned demolition of the long-empty building was temporarily on hold.
This was good news for many who spoke out in favor of saving the structure that was central to the city’s commercial fishing heyday.
Specifically, the port has halted the state-mandated environmental review process necessary for demolition and is now seeking “expressions of interest” for a lease and development agreement for the property located at 1050 Ways St., Terminal Island. The announcement was made by Mike DiBernardo, deputy executive director of marketing and customer relations for the Port of Los Angeles.
Offers are due April 7 for the property, which is described as an 8.63-acre site that includes a large warehouse and a building footprint of approximately 267,720 square feet with a parking area.
DiBernardo also announced at Thursday’s board meeting that there will be a public hearing at 5 p.m. on March 23 on Phillips 66’s plans for a marine oil terminal operation at Piers 148-151 in the port. from Los Angeles.
Port officials determined in November that a full environmental report would not be required. Three neighborhood councils and other groups opposed.
Comments will be collected at the hearing after a brief presentation, and members of the public can also submit written comments for 30 days after that.
The decision to temporarily suspend Star-Kist also came after objections, including questions raised by Port of Los Angeles Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi when demolition plans were announced at the end of the year. last.
The building, critics said, has significant historical value to the port city and was a symbol of San Pedro’s heritage. More effort should be made to find a new use, they said.
“I’m very happy the port is going to give it a shot,” said Anthony Misetich, whose great-uncle, Martin J. Bogdanovich, started the business. He wondered, however, whether the April 7 deadline for responses to the request for interest was too short a period.
The original plan in 2021 included razing the main building (Factory No. 4) and the northern and southern parts of the East Plant and a waterfront dock in the area known as Fish Harbour.
Star-Kist originally operated under the banner of the French Sardine Company of California before the StarKist brand was established in 1917.
Star-Kist closed its facility in 1984. The cannery was later used for a pet food operation.
A food canning operation would be a good fit, Misetich said.
“It doesn’t have to be a fish cannery,” he says. “It could be a vegetable cannery or other types of produce, and you have the port facility there for export.”
The building will also need rehabilitation works.
The pause in demolition plans hinges on finding a new party interested in occupying the building.
“I’m glad they’re giving it a second look,” Misetich said. “But I think they should give it at least 90 days for there to be a real and effective outreach process.”