The City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) announced the official Grand Opening of the La Kretz Innovation Campus. The fully renovated building located at 5th and Hewitt Streets in the dynamic Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles comprises 3.2 acres and is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The facility is open to the public and serves as home to LADWP customer service and engineering staff as well as home to LACI, a non-profit organization helping promising cleantech companies deliver market-ready solutions and spur economic development and job creation in Los Angeles.
“The La Kretz Innovation Campus embodies the ambition and forward thinking that make Los Angeles a world center for green industry,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This campus will foster innovation, create jobs, and set an example for cities everywhere. Clean technology is not only smart and responsible but also a terrific growth opportunity. For all those reasons, we should invest our time and resources into making it a huge success.”
Purchased in 2010, the former furniture and fabric warehouse underwent a significant renovation designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK). Today, the La Kretz Innovation Campus is designed to be a LEED Platinum Certified building utilizing state-of-the-art green technology like a 175 kilowatt photovoltaic solar canopy, fast charger EV stations and bioswales that naturally filter stormwater into the ground. The campus also houses the first public greywater filtration and energy microgrid systems in Los Angeles.
“By utilizing this space to showcase all of the latest green technologies, we hope to inspire customers, both residential and commercial, to adopt some of the systems for themselves,” LADWP General Manager David Wright said. “The La Kretz Innovation Campus not only showcases the clean tech available to customers today, but it also allows the innovation and development necessary to create the products of tomorrow – boosting LA’s economy along the way.”
The 60,000-square-foot La Kretz Innovation Campus facility features office space and amenities for LACI’s burgeoning cleantech portfolio companies to utilize as they grow and develop their businesses. The Campus features collaborative workspace, an Advanced Prototyping Center (including a 3-D printing and laser shop, electronics, robotics and chemistry labs), a training center, amphitheater and event space, in addition to LADWP laboratories for both Customer Engagement and Energy Efficiency Technology, and the Case Study Home showcasing energy and water saving products as well as rebates and services available to LADWP customers, among other features.
LACI helps manage the La Kretz Innovation Campus, recruiting entrepreneurs, organizations and community thought leaders focused on the region’s clean energy sector to rent space and develop businesses within the building. The shared-space design allows emerging cleantech portfolio companies and LADWP engineers to work side-by-side with leaders in innovation and environmental sustainability, receiving guidance and mentorship as they develop new technologies that both grow Los Angeles’ economy and promote sustainability amongst Angelenos.
Fred Walti, CEO and President of LACI, stated, “The purpose of the La Kretz Innovation Campus is to provide solutions, both in terms of economic growth for the City of Los Angeles and through sustainability innovations and partnerships. We have already had the privilege of hosting Vice President Joe Biden at the campus, in addition to the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors, Hilda Solis, and many of the world’s top sustainability leaders, including members of the C40 Group.”
Since the facility’s soft opening in November 2015, the La Kretz Innovation Campus has convened over 300 sustainability and clean technology focused events, attracting more than 8,000 attendees. The Campus currently has ten innovative demonstrations and pilots for the purpose of educating the public and accelerating market adoption of clean technologies. In addition, 30 cleantech startups utilize the Campus for their office space, meetings, collaboration, and prototyping needs.
LACI, founded in 2011, has already helped 61 companies raise $78 million in funding, creating 1,150 jobs and delivering more than $230 million in long term economic value for the City of Los Angeles. LACI is currently the #3 Ranked Global Incubator by UBI Global. Recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world, LACI identifies local entrepreneurs across multiple cleantech business sectors and guides them to market, creating jobs that advance LA’s green economy.
All told, LADWP paid for 42 percent of the $47 million campus purchase and renovation, with the remainder of funds provided through donations, grants and other state and federal funding sources. LADWP utilizes nearly 50 percent of the space for engineering and customer service purposes, and has 100 percent of the equity in the property.