Los Angeles’ Westside district received tidings of great joy in December when Google decided to dish out nearly $120 million to acquire 12 vacant acres of commercial space in Playa Vista, an enclave near Marina del Rey. The corporation’s planned expansion falls on the heels of a productive campus it opened within the beachfront vicinity of Venice in 2011 for some 600 employees. Google’s purchase of the land, adjacent to the hangar where the late Howard Hughes built his “Spruce Goose,” represents a sovereign shot in the arm for the local economy.
“It really makes and brands Playa Vista as the tech and innovation capital of Los Angeles,” City Councilman Mike Bonin told the Los Angeles Times. The tech giant, which specializes in Internet-related favors, is also circling the actual Hughes hangar for a possible leasing opportunity.
The local news group reports that if Google develops the 900,000 square feet of land as zoned, the Playa Vista site and hangar might become a conjoined place of employment for up to 6,000 highly paid workers.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton hailed Playa Vista as one of the nation’s most technologically advanced planned communities. The neighborhood of roughly 6,500 residents was constructed originally as a model for eco-responsible development, utilizing energy-saving systems. Today, its parks and landscaped areas are nourished with 100 percent recycled water, while its tech community continues to aggrandize.
Playa Vista is also home to many newly established companies, advertising agencies and media enterprises. In 2013, software behemoth Microsoft erected its shingle within the self-contained locality. Facebook, a social networking service, has set up shop as a friendly neighbor, as have Sony PlayStation, Warner Bros. and Verizon. Moreover, the 1.3-square-mile hamlet is where inventors and virtual reality researchers from the world over flock to study and workshop at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.
In coming months, the locale is expected to roll out the green carpet for a number of newcomers, including a leading tech maverick. Google’s chief competitor, Yahoo, is currently eyeing about 130,000 square feet of property, as Playa Vista becomes L.A.’s new axis of technological development and progress.
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.