How Playa Vista Became LA's Most High-Tech Community
By Alexandria Abramian| March 28, 2019 |
Haven't heard of the Westside's coolest new haute spot? Google Playa Vista.
Common Grounds, one of PV’s 29 parks.
Originally designed to house Howard Hughes’ massive H-4 Hercules plane, the Spruce Goose hangar in Playa Vista is now home to one of the world’s most massive tech giants—Google. It’s just one chapter in Playa Vista’s transformation from Hughes’ sprawling private airport into a true LA anomaly: a mixed-use, high-tech, dog-obsessed “village” that caters to Hollywood’s newest entertainment royalty: tech stars.
“Playa Vista is so welcoming with family and pets and quality of lifestyle. It feels young and smart and somehow still completely inclusive and comfortable,” says Top Chef runner-up and restaurateur Brooke Williamson, who, along with husband Nick Roberts, owns Playa Vista’s Da Kikokiko restaurant. “I love that it feels like its own little community.”
The Pointe is one of the many residential green zones that dot Playa Vista.
And it’s just that unlikely mashup—a high-tech hub in the heart of West LA’s “Silicon Beach” with down-home appeal—that’s creating a real estate magnet. With thousands of homes that range from studio rentals to single-family mini-mansions, Playa Vista appeals to LMU students, YouTube stars and people like Jeanie Buss, president of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. She purchased a four-bedroom home for $2.4 million in 2017. Previously, former Los Angeles Clipper Eric Gordon closed on a 3,500-square-foot home in Playa Vista for just over $2 million.
“Within the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, here is this peaceful place where you can exist almost entirely without a car,” says Conor Adler, executive producer, experiential, at Deutsch advertising agency. “All I do is work and parent at this point in my life, and I live two blocks from Deutsch. Living in Playa Vista has allowed me to streamline my life so that I have access to my kids in a way that I wouldn’t have anywhere else in the world. I call it my haven.” Soon, Playa Vista’s retail and entertainment hub, Runway, will offer more options, including Free Market, a clever update on the Fred Segal model that will feature a curated mix of direct-to-consumer fashion and beauty brands.
YouTube’s 40,000-square-foot facility was once a helicopter fabrication facility on the site of the Howard Hughes Aircraft Company.
The community may also help mitigate one of LA’s biggest pain points: isolation. While plenty of residents and workers meet within its 29 parks and the Runway shopping district, there are also meetups for biking, chess playing, professional networking, even cheese and wine tastings. “You don’t even have to schedule them,” says Alison Girard, director of marketing at Brookfield Residential, which has built many of the community’s homes. “You meet people in elevators, on the hiking trails, in the Blue Bottles and Starbucks.”
Perhaps nothing captures Playa Vista’s high-tech, down-home sensibility more than the Bluff Creek Dog Park: With manicured mounds of AstroTurf, the park bustles as dog owners chat while canines wade in a winding stream. Can’t be there in real life? Not to worry: Its very own Instagram page (@playavistadogpark) captures all of the action for the thousands who follow it.