SpaceX Leases Property at Port of Long Beach

Long Beach Harbor property leased by SpaceX. (Credit; Google Maps)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Long Beach Harbor Commission has unanimously approved a two-year lease with SpaceX for Elon Musk’s company to use a marine terminal for the recovery of Falcon 9 first stages.

SpaceX will use the property for first stage boosters that land on drone ships after launches conducted from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The company has a similar facility in Florida for launches conducted out of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX has been using a facility at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles for recovering rockets and cargo Dragon capsules returning from the International Space Station.

The Long Beach lease covers 6.39 acres, including 2.85 acres of land and 3.54 acres of submerged land. SpaceX will use 65,894 square feet of office and warehouse space on the property.

SpaceX will pay a monthly rent of $107,000 or $2.57 million over two years, subject to annual consumer price index adjustments for year two to account for inflation. SpaceX can terminate the lease at any time with 90-days notice.

During their meeting, harbor commissioners expressed hope that SpaceX would sign a long-term lease to cover years after the lease expires. The lease will enter into effect on May 1.

“We’re extremely pleased to reach an agreement that will bring Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to the Port of Long Beach. This pact will benefit both parties,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna in a press release. “We welcome SpaceX to the Port family.”

The property was vacated by Sea Launch last year after 20 years of occupancy. The dormant company, which previously used a converted oil rig and a command ship to launch satellites using Zenit rockets, was moved to Russia after it was purchased by the S7 Group.

“This is a good fit for the Port, as we offer the industry-leading facilities and services that are perfectly suited to SpaceX’s mission,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “I would like to commend our Port team, especially our Real Estate division, for developing this agreement with SpaceX.”

The U.S. government owns the leased property, which was previously used by the U.S. Navy.

“It is anticipated that the premises will be conveyed by the United States of America to the Port by means of a public benefit conveyance following the completion of the Navy’s remedial actions on portions of the Navy Mole. After conveyance of the entirety of the premises by the United States to the Port, the Sublease will become a primary lease between the Port and SpaceX for the remaining balance of the term,” according to a Port Authority summary of the lease.