Playa Vista, Los Angeles
|Neighborhood of Los Angeles|
Playa Vista from the south, with Bluff Creek in foreground
Playa Vista neighborhood as mapped by the Los Angeles Times
|Western Los Angeles|
Playa Vista was founded in 2002 as a model urban community, combining residential, commercial, and retail components. It is a neighborhood located in the Westside of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States, north of LAX. Prior to the development of Playa Vista, the area was the headquarters of Hughes Aircraft Company from 1941 to 1985, and was famously the site of the construction of the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" aircraft. Today, this area, along with Santa Monica and Venice, is known as part of Silicon Beach which has become a choice address for businesses in technology, media and entertainment.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Population
- 3 Facilities
- 4 History
- 5 Development
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
The boundaries of the currently developed portion are approximately Lincoln Boulevard and the Ballona Wetlands on the west, Ballona Creek on the north, Centinela Avenue on the east, and the Del Rey Hills bluffs (Westchester Bluffs) on the south. Playa Vista is bordered by the unincorporated enclave of Marina Del Rey to the northwest, by the community of Playa del Rey to the southwest, by Loyola Marymount University and the upland part of Westchester to the southwest, south, east and southeast, and by the Del Rey district to the northwest.
According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Playa Vista is adjoined on the northwest by Del Rey, on the north and east by Culver City, on the southeast by Westchester and on the west by Marina Del Rey.
Street and other boundaries are: Ballona Creek or the Marina Freeway on the northwest and north, the Culver City boundary on the northeast, Bluff Creek Drive or the boundary between Rancho Ballona and Rancho Sausal Redondo on the southeast, followed by Teale Street and Cabora Drive, westerly and unmarked, to include the Ballona Wetlands on the southwest.
||Del Rey & Mar Vista||Del Rey & Culver City||Fox Hills Mall & Holy Cross Cemetery|
|Marina Del Rey||Hillside Memorial Pk & Ladera Hts|
|Ballona Wetlands||Loyola Marymount University & LAX||Westchester|
The 2000 U.S. census counted 2,416 residents in the 1.3-square-mile Playa Vista neighborhood—an average of 1,859 people per square mile, a very low population density in Los Angeles, but by 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 6,010. The median age for residents was 37, considered old for Los Angeles; the percentage of residents aged 65 and older was among the county's highest
The neighborhood was highly diverse ethnically. The breakdown was Latinos, 34.8%; whites, 32.4%; Asians, 21.2%; blacks, 4.7%, and others, 6.9%. Mexico (36.2%) and Guatemala (16.5%) were the most common places of birth for the 31.1% of the residents who were born abroad, about an average figure in Los Angeles.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $68,597, a high figure for Los Angeles. The average household size of 2.4 people was average for the city. House- or apartment owners occupied 54.8% of the housing stock, and renters occupied 28.5%.
The percentages of divorced men and widowed men and women were among the county's highest. In 2000 there were 33 families headed by single parents, a low rate for Los Angeles. There were 215 veterans, or 11%, a high rate for Los Angeles.
- The Los Angeles Police Department operates the Pacific Community Police Station at 12312 Culver Boulevard, 90066, serving the neighborhood.
- The Los Angeles Public Library operates the new Playa Vista Branch Library with a community meeting room.
- Parks: Neighborhood parks, sports fields, and regional hiking parks, are in and adjacent to Playa Vista.
- In the 'Campus' area, the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional basketball team, have built a new training facility for its players. Some Clippers players live in or near Playa Vista.
Tongva Native Americans
The Tongva Native Americans once inhabited the location now occupied by Playa Vista. There was a Tongvan sacred burial site located here: "about 1,000 Native American remains [...] had been exhumed during construction," grave sites that were deemed sacred by the Tongva people. The remains were discovered after construction had begun. In 2008, the remains "were laid to rest and covered with white seashells during a sacred burial ceremony near the Westchester bluffs." In addition, "Playa Vista plans to complete a museum dubbed the Discovery Center to educate people about the Ballona wetlands and the Gabrieliño-Tongva tribe. It is expected to be completed at the end of ."
Ballona Creek Watershed
Prior to its development as headquarters for Hughes Aircraft Company, much of the land occupied by Playa Vista was a wetlands connected with a large salt-marsh in what is now Marina Del Rey. These wetlands were formerly part of the larger Ballona Creek watershed that occupied these areas along with what is now Playa Del Rey, and much of Venice, Los Angeles.
Howard Hughes - Spruce Goose
In the 1940s, the aviator Howard Hughes bought the site and constructed a private airfield runway, named Hughes Airport, and an aircraft factory with large hangars for his Hughes Aircraft Company production. The famous Spruce Goose (Hughes H-4 Hercules plane), with the largest wingspan and height of any aircraft in history, was built in and the hangar and then transported to Long Beach Harbor for its only flight in 1947. The Spruce Goose was then stored in a climate-controlled hangar at Long Beach Harbor until after Hughes' death in 1976. The hangar will be preserved as a structure eligible for landmark listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Phase One of Playa Vista began in 2001 as "a mix of affordable and luxury housing, office and commercial space and open spaces and recreational amenities, all set next to a restored wetlands and wildlife preserve." In October, Steve Soboroff was named president of Playa Vista.
It was one of "six communities in the nation selected by President Bill Clinton in 1998 as a National Pilot Project of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH)." As such it is, "one of the most technologically advanced communities ever planned" and is "fully connected via telecommunications and broadband capabilities."
It was also constructed as, "a model for green development [using] energy saving systems, non-toxic and recycled materials, product selections and design techniques that promote conservation [thus] minimizing the impacts of development on the environment." However, some environmentalists and residents in the nearby communities of Mar Vista, Westchester, and Venice oppose the development arguing that it will increase traffic congestion throughout the Los Angeles Westside. Beginning in 1994, developers and some environmentalists worked together to restore the Ballona Wetlands. Other environmentalists, however, oppose development in the wetlands.
A controversy surrounding methane at Playa Vista developed around 2000. On April 17, 2000, Exploration Technologies Inc. (ETI), "found methane seeps much larger than any previously reported, one about 1,000 feet long, and a second slightly smaller, in the area east of Lincoln Boulevard and south of Jefferson Boulevard." The City Council then asked Playa Vista to conduct more studies with ETI as a peer reviewer. This study found that ETI's original hypothesis was incorrect, and stated that a fault zone did not exist under Lincoln. The study further showed that gas seepage from the SoCal gas storage facility was not occurring. The report concluded that "no significant fault is possible under the entire Playa Vista development project site." In 2002, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) required the installation of gas mitigation systems at Playa Vista, consisting of a membrane shield under the buildings, vents, and a series of alarms.
According to officials at the L.A. Department of Building and Safety, "Methane is an old story in Los Angeles and the standards the city requires at Playa Vista are the strictest in the country. Hence, Playa residents we spoke to cited areas where the gas has not been mitigated - such as Venice, Santa Monica, and nearly all of the Westside - as more dangerous." Many also argue that "much of the methane is natural - not the kind that comes from the gas company."
The Los Angeles City Council has consistently voted in favor of the developers of the project. The development has a government-mandated blend of high- and low-income housing (less than 10%). According to the Los Angeles Times, "[o]ver the last decade, government agencies and courts have ruled repeatedly in Playa Vista's favor [...] Engineers, builders and consultants for the project have joined the city of Los Angeles in saying the safety measures are the most elaborate the city has ever required."
Today, Playa Vista's parks and landscaped areas are serviced with 100% recycled water.
Commercial activity within Playa Vista:
- Electronic Arts, a Redwood City-based major developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games, operates a large branch campus in Playa Vista.
- Belkin, since February 2010, has its corporate headquarters in Playa Vista.
- ICANN relocated its corporate headquarters to Playa Vista from nearby Marina Del Rey in June 2012.
- TBWA\Chiat\Day, the Los Angeles office of TBWA Worldwide, rents a 103,000 square foot  building in Playa Vista.
- Deutsch Inc. - Los Angeles office of Deutsch Inc., a global creative ad agency.
- The Argonaut, a small area newspaper.
- Gehry Partners, LLP, the architectural firm of Frank Gehry.
- TOMS - headquarters of the philanthropic company known for shoes, eyewear, and coffee products.
- Rubicon HQ - Los Angeles office of Rubicon.
- Facebook LA - Los Angeles office of Facebook.
- Microsoft - Los Angeles office of Microsoft.
- YouTube Space LA - Los Angeles office of YouTube.
Other related activity:
- The Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a research institute of the University of Southern California (USC) is located in Playa Vista. Established in 1999, the ICT combines the assets of a major research university with the creative resources of Hollywood and the game industry to advance the state-of-the-art in training and simulation.
Los Angeles Unified School District operates public schools.
- Logan, Tim (January 2, 2015) "Buoyed by Silicon Beach, Westchester enjoys a housing surge" Los Angeles Times
- Vincent, Roger (December 18, 2014) "Playa Vista office complex gets makeover, draws creative tenants" Los Angeles Times
- Chang, Andrea (January 16, 2015) "Yahoo to move Santa Monica operations to booming tech hub Playa Vista" Los Angeles Times
- Google Maps
-  "Westside," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
-  "South Bay," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
- "Playa Vista," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
- The Thomas Guide: Los Angeles County, 2004, pages 672 and 702
- Google maps
- Pacific Community Police Station - official website of THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
- Playa Vista Branch (LAPL)
- http://www.yelp.com/biz/playa-vista-dog-park-playa-vista Playa Vista Dog
- http://www.yelp.com/biz/playa-vista-sports-park-playa-vista Playa Vista Sports Park
- http://www.yelp.com/biz/fountain-park-at-playa-vista-playa-vista Fountain Park At Playa Vista
- http://www.shapedscape.com/projects/playa-vista-park Playa Vista Central Park
- Bike Paths of Los Angeles: Ballona Creek
- CLIPPERS: Clippers’ Training Center Press Conference Transcript
- CLIPPERS: Clippers Training Center Update
- Restoring harmony with reburial of Native American remains
- Williams, Jennifer L., 'Grave Disturbances'
- Ranchos and the Politics of Land Claims by Karen Clay and Werner Troesken
- Mar Vista Historical Society
- The Lost Wetlands of Los Angeles
- Spielberg and Partners Drop Long-Troubled Plan to Build Big Studio Complex
- Opinions Differ Radically on Impacts of Dreamworks’ Abrupt Exit from Playa Vista
- Playa Vista Moving Full Speed Ahead For Early 2001 Grand Opening
- Steve Soboroff Named President of Playa Vista
- Playa Vista Unveils Visitor Center as Leading Homebuilders Move Forward With Construction; First Residents to Move in Next Year
- Santa Monica, Environmentalists Go to Court Over Playa Vista Expansion
- Developers and Environmentalists Join Forces on Wetlands
- The evolution of a Ballona friendship
- Just How Much Gas Flows Below?
- "Playa Vista Buyers Will Test Capability of Methane Shield; Critics call high-tech safeguards unproven. Courts back experts who devised system."
- La Citybeat - Bubbling Trouble
- PASSING JUDGEMENT, PASSING GAS
- Playa Vista Buyers Will Test Capability of Methane Shield; Critics call high-tech safeguards unproven. Courts back experts who devised system
- Reclaimed water now irrigates landscaped open spaces in Playa Vista
- LOS ANGELES (EALA)
- Vincent, Roger (August 28, 2014) "Prominent L.A. developer to build unconventional office at Playa Vista" Los Angeles Times
- Office Deals in Playa Vista Demonstrate Strength of L.A.’s Westside, CoStar Group Blog, July 2, 2008 .
- Vincent, Roger and Chang, Andrea (December 3, 2014) "Google buys 12 acres in Playa Vista, vastly expands presence in L.A." Los Angeles Times
- LoopNet Property Records
- TBWA\Chiat\Day Website
- Deutsch Website
- The Argonaut Website
- Gehry Partners
- TOMS Website
- ICT Website
- "Home" (Archive). Wiseburn School District. Retrieved on April 4, 2014. "Also serving the children of employees from the surrounding aerospace, technology, travel, and entertainment industries, as well as families living in the Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Mar Vista, and Ladera Heights area on an interdistrict permit transfer."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Playa Vista, Los Angeles.|
- Ballona Wetlands Land Trust
- official Playa Vista Inc. site
- Friends of Ballona Wetlands
- Birds of Ballona
- Gallery of Photos of birds at Ballona
- Playa Vista Central Park, Project Details on Shapedscape
- Central Park at Playa Vista, Archinect Review