LOS ANGELES (CN) — SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, received approval from the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday to construct spaceships and interplanetary rockets at a 19-acre Port of Los Angeles plot in San Pedro.
The City Council unanimously granted SpaceX, which is based out of Hawthorne, California, a 30-year lease agreement to take over a dormant complex at the port to construct its facility.
Musk predicts SpaceX rockets, including the interplanetary Big Falcon Rocket, will be capable of reaching Mars by 2022.
Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who represents the port area, called the proposed SpaceX facility a “big Falcon deal” that would transform downtown San Pedro.
“My uncle Joe once built ships at the port, and now with [City Council] support we will build spaceships there,” Buscaino said.
The Southwest Marine facility formerly used the site to produce battleships during World War II, according to an April report from the city.
The Board of Harbor Commissioners approved SpaceX’s proposal in April, paving the way for City Council approval.
Under the terms of the lease agreement, SpaceX won’t pay rent for the facility for almost two decades. Instead, the company will receive $40 million in rent credits for renovating the port complex that has been vacant since 2005.
After the 20-year period is up, SpaceX will pay the city $3 million per year to rent the site.
SpaceX is one of the fastest growing providers of reusable rockets to transport satellites for companies around the world, and it has developed reliable spacecraft at comparatively lower cost than other companies.
Because its rockets will be too large to transport by road, the Port of Los Angeles facility will allow SpaceX to place them directly onto barges for transportation.
The company will initially construct an 80,000-square foot facility at the Port of Los Angeles but could expand its structure to a 200,000-square foot area.
The company will also store argon, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen in 12,000-gallon tanks, according to its proposal for the facility.
SpaceX expects 700 employees to work at the manufacturing facility with pay that is in line with the Living Wage Ordinance, according to the city report.
Construction on the site could begin within a month.