Playa Vista is a neighborhood located located on 1,087 acres (4 km2) in the northern section of Westchester in the western area of Los Angeles, California, north of LAX. It is part of the Westside and has its own ZIP code: 90094.
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The boundaries of the currently developed portion are approximately Lincoln Boulevard and the Ballona Wetlands on the west, Ballona Creek on the north, Dawn Creek Drive 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.
- 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.
- Playa Vista Dog Park
- Playa Vista Sports Park
- Fountain Park At Playa Vista
- Central Park
- Ballona Creek bicycle path
- 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 next year.”
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 hangers 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 stored in a climate-controlled hangar here 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.
During the late 1990s, DreamWorks failed in its attempt to build a studio in Playa Vista. Later, movies such as Titanic, Men in Black, and Independence Day were filmed on the site.
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 opposed 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, opposed 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 is serviced with 100% recycled water.
Belkin, since February 2010, has its corporate headquarters in Playa Vista.
Los Angeles Unified School District operates public schools.