Playa Vista is a neighborhood located on in southwestern Los Angeles, California. Its boundaries are approximately Lincoln Boulevard on the west, Ballona Creek on the north, McConnell Avenue on the east, and Teale Street on the south. It is bordered by the unincorporated enclave of Marina Del Rey to the northwest, by the neighborhood 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 Del Rey to the northwest. Playa Vista has its own ZIP Code: 90094. It is part of the Westside.
For over 6,000 years the Tongva Native Americans
village of Sa'Angna and its burial grounds were located at the Playa Vista location. In 1769, European settlers
arrived and beginning in the early 1800s the area was converted to dairy farms and agricultural fields. In the 1940s, the aviator Howard Hughes
bought the site and constructed an aircraft plant, runway and hangars. He built his famous Spruce Goose
at his incorrectly named "Culver City facilities," actually located in the Los Angeles community of Westchester. Over the next 40 years, Hughes Aircraft developed, built and tested many successful aircraft designs on this site. The company continued manufacturing at the site into the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, Hollywood converted the former hangars, including the one that held the Spruce Goose, into sound stages. Scenes from movies such as Titanic
, What Women Want
, End of Days
and most recently World Trade Center
were filmed here.
In 2001, former Los Angeles mayoral advisor and Parks Commissioner Steve Soboroff
was hired as Playa Vista's president after finishing out of contention in that year's mayoral contest. In 2002, Soboroff unveiled new plans for the completion of development at Playa Vista. It is estimated that the plan will result in less than half the number of residential units, a third less office space and nearly 70 percent less retail area compared to the original Playa Vista master plan. Over 70 percent of of Playa Vista will be dedicated to either active or passive open space. This dramatic reduction in development compared to the original plan was made possible by Playa Vista’s agreement with the Trust for Public Land. This agreement allowed the State of California to purchase the land west of Lincoln Boulevard and north of Culver Boulevard in order to restore and preserve the Ballona Wetlands
- The world's leading video-game publisher, Electronic Arts, now houses more than 600 employees at its futuristic studio at Playa Vista's Water's Edge complex.
- On Concert Park in Playa Vista, several small retail and food service shops are now open. More retail surrounding the park will open soon.
- A Sunrise Senior Living facility opened in 2006.
- Along with the six public parks that already exist, more new parks are opening. The interactive design firm ESI, led by Edwin Schlossberg, is designing park programs and the community's branding.
- In the Campus area, the Los Angeles Clippers are building a new training facility for its players. Several Clippers players live in or near Playa Vista.
- The residential portion of Playa Vista's first phase - which is nearly complete - is closest to Lincoln Blvd. and the Ballona Wetlands. This section also includes Concert Park and the Shops at Concert Park, the Playa Vista Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, the CenterPointe Club (for residents of the development), and Los Angeles Fire Department station number 67.
- The commercial third of the development is closest to Sepulveda Blvd., the Marina Freeway and the 405 freeway. Lincoln Properties is planning to build office buildings totaling more than in the eastern portion of Playa Vista community known as "The Campus at Playa Vista".
Phase Two: The Village Town Center
The Village Town Center will connect the Phase One residential property with the Campus, and is expected to be mixed-used residential/commercial property.
The Village was approved in 2004 by the Los Angeles City Council. Phase 2 is expected to draw more traffic to the area, since it will include offices and shops. The Village will bring 2,600 new homes and a neighborhood retail center that will offer restaurants, a grocery store, bank branch and other community-serving uses. The Village will connect the homes now under construction on Playa Vista’s west side with the Campus area on the eastern end of the property. Caruso Affiliated, which designed the Grove, is currently in negotiations to design the Village.
Debate and Litigation
To environmentalists and many residents in the nearby communities of Mar Vista
, Westchester, and Venice
, Playa Vista is controversial. Some oppose the development on the grounds that it will increase traffic congestion
throughout the Los Angeles Westside
. Other concerns are the desire to preserve the Ballona wetlands and the presence of native American grave sites deemed sacred by the Tongva
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%). Playa Vista has been recognized by the White House as one of five P.A.T.H. (Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing) communities in the United States.
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" (Groves "Buyers" 2003).
On April 17, 2000 Exploration Technologies Inc., released a city-required, year-long million-dollar study, which cited dangers of methane gas seepage via a previously unknown Lincoln Blvd. fault. The earthquake fault intersects the underground gas storage facility of the Southern California Gas Company at a depth of , where the gas is stored by the gas company under very high pressures. The peer review report identified a very serious risk of gas migration rushing to the surface as a result of an earthquake. "The massive amounts of gas that would be migrating up to the surface along the fault directly underlies the exact location of where the proposed visitor center is being currently constructed, at the location of the fountain park apartment complex at Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards." Dr. Paul Endres, gas migration expert and critic of the project.
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.
Methane is prevalent throughout much of Los Angeles County. Playa Vista's systems in place are the foundation upon which the City of Los Angeles created its new citywide methane ordinance in 2004.
Another concern for residents and developers of the project is the potential for soil liquefaction
should an earthquake
occur. Much of the plain on either side of the now-paved Ballona Creek has been either permanent wetland or subject to flooding during heavy rains. Photographs exist that show cars in water up over their wheels as far as Venice Boulevard
, several hundred yards, and uphill, to the north. Despite the paving of the Ballona Creek (adjacent to Playa Vista) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
in the 1930s, the subterranean structure of the area is still that of an active wetland/floodplain. Due to the necessity of building the project above the water level thousands of truckloads of gravel and fill dirt were used to build the foundations of Howard Hughes facilities and the Playa Vista project. Should a substantial earthquake rattle the LA basin, such as that of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake
, compacted dirt could crumble and separate atop the saturated soil below.
Los Angeles Police Department
operates the Pacific Community Police Station at 12312 Culver Boulevard, 90066, serving the neighborhood.
Playa Vista is zoned to Los Angeles USD
Los Angeles Public Library operates the Playa Vista Branch.
K-5 Elementary School is planned in the Playa Vista Phase 1 section.
Playa Vista has identified a four-acre site for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), with the intent that the location will be used to educate the children of Playa Vista and the surrounding area.