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Westwood / Century City

Westwood - Century City

Westwood is a neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


Westwood was developed on the lands of the historic ‘Wolfskill Ranch’, a 3,000-acre (12 km2) parcel that was purchased by Arthur Letts, the successful founder of the Broadway, and Bullock’s department stores, in 1919. Upon Arthur Lett’s death, his son-in-law, Harold Janss, vice president of Janss Investment Company, inherited the land and developed the area and started advertising for new homes in 1922.

The Los Angeles Times reported the news: “Westwood, the subdivision of the Wolfskill ranch, 3300 acres of scenic territory between the city and Santa Monica, is to be opened to homeseekers and investors today by the Janss Investment Company. The tract comprises approximately 1000 residential and business lots, situated west of the Los Angeles Country Club on Santa Monica Boulevard and the Rancho Country Club on Pico Boulevard.”

[idx-listings city=”Westwood – Century City” propertytypes=”513″ orderby=”DateAdded” orderdir=”DESC” count=”10″]


Another view of the Westwood skyline

Located in the northern central portion of Los Angeles’s Westside, Westwood is bordered by Brentwood on the west, Bel-Air on the north, Century City and Beverly Hills on the east, West Los Angeles on the southwest, Rancho Park on the southeast, and Sawtelle on the south and southwest. The district’s boundaries are generally considered to be Olympic Boulevard on the southeast, the city limits of Beverly Hills on the northeast, and Sunset Boulevard on the north; its southwestern boundary is the San Diego Freeway between Olympic and Wilshire boulevards, and Veteran Avenue between Wilshire and Sunset.


Westwood’s major thoroughfares include Santa Monica, Olympic, Sepulveda, Beverly Glen, Wilshire, Westwood, and Sunset Boulevards. The district is served by the San Diego Freeway (I-405). Local bus service is provided by Big Blue Bus and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Culver CityBus’s Line 6 also serves Westwood.

The area’s notorious traffic has led to calls for the extension of the Purple Line subway to Westwood from its current endpoint at Western Avenue in Koreatown.

The Metro and Caltrans have also begun a project to widen the San Diego Freeway between the interchanges with the Marina Freeway (SR 90) in Culver City and the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) in Sherman Oaks; the project, which will finally add a northbound carpool lane to the congested route, is not scheduled for completion until 2011 at the earliest.

Century City is a 176-acre (712,000-m2) commercial and residential district on the Westside of the City of Los Angeles. It is bounded by Westwood on the west, Rancho Park on the southwest, Cheviot Hills and Beverlywood on the southeast, and the city of Beverly Hills on the northeast. Its major thoroughfares are Santa Monica, Olympic, and Pico Boulevards (its northern boundary, central artery, and southern boundary, respectively), as well as Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East and West.

Century City is an important business center, and many law firms and executives — particularly those with ties to the film, television, and music industries — have offices there.

Aerial view of the Century City neighborhood; Fox Studios still occupies the lower left quadrant.

Skyscrapers and other important landmarks

The high-rise buildings along Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood appear to blend in with those of Century City when seen at a distance, although they are separated by over three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km).

Skyline from Santa Monica Boulevard

Its gleaming high-rises stand in stark contrast to the small apartment buildings and single-family detached homes in the lower-density neighborhoods surrounding it, and were some of the first skyscrapers built in Los Angeles after the lifting of earthquake-related height restrictions in the early 1960s.

For many years, it was home to the ABC Entertainment Center, which housed network operations for the ABC Television Network and the “Shubert Theater,” which hosted many famous Broadway Musicals, such as: Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables, and Mamma Mia, which is based on the famous popular rock band ABBA. The Shubert was demolished in 2002 and became replaced by a modern glass building that houses the headquarters Creative Artists Agency affectionately known as the Death Star, which is part of the complex called Century Park.

Some of the most recognized buildings in Century City include:

  • The Century Towers
  • Century Plaza Towers, commonly referred to as the “Twin Towers”.
  • Fox Plaza, 20th Century Fox headquarters most well-known for being Nakatomi Plaza in the movie Die Hard.
  • Constellation Place, (or the MGM Tower) headquarters of the historic Hollywood studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
  • Watt Plaza
  • SunAmerica Center
  • Century Plaza Hotel
  • Century City News


The Fox Plaza
At the southern end of Century City, Fox Plaza towers over the nearby neighborhoods.

Once a backlot of 20th Century Fox, which still has its headquarters just to the southwest, the Fox studio commissioned a master-plan development from Welton Becket Associates, which was unveiled at a major press event on the “western” backlot in 1957. In 1961, after Fox suffered a string of expensive flops, culminating in the box-office disaster Cleopatra, the film studio sold about 180 acres (0.73 km2) to developer William Zeckendorf and Aluminum Co. of America, also known as Alcoa. The new owners conceived Century City as “a city within a city.” In 1963, the first building, Century City Gateway West, was complete, followed the next year by Minoru Yamasaki’s Century Plaza Hotel.

It originally was planned to be served by the Beverly Hills Freeway (Santa Monica Boulevard to the north) and a rapid transit corridor. However, neither of these transportation improvements came to pass, and so Century City is a source of traffic irritation for the residents of Cheviot Hills to the south, since there is no direct freeway access to the center. It is likely that any westward extension of the Los Angeles MTA’s Metro Purple Line subway will include a stop at Century City.

Much of the shopping center’s architecture and style is shown off in numerous sequences in the 1967 Fox film, A Guide for the Married Man, and can also be seen in a sequence in another Fox film of the same year, Caprice. The way the plaza looked in 1972 can be viewed in several scenes of still another Fox film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.


In 2009, the Los Angeles Times’s “Mapping L.A.” project supplied these Century City statistics: population: 5,513; median household income: $95,135.

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