Los Angeles's Playa Vista is having a moment. The planned community has houses, apartments, and shopping areas, but it's becoming best known as an enormous office hub, as tech companies migrate southeast out of Santa Monica and Venice, aka Silicon Beach. Google's moving to PV and already owns a parcel zoned for up to 900,000 *square feet of office space; they're also expected to lease the 319,000-square-foot hangar next to that property (altogether it could house 6,000 workers). Yahoo's just agreed to a long-term lease for 130,000 square feet at a soon-to-open project called The Collective, which has 204,422 square feet total. There's lots of space in Playa Vista, and growing tech companies like that. Unfortunately, as the Huffington Post notes, the move out from the coast is also a move away from public transit options.
Students at neighboring Loyola Marymount University know that Playa Vista is a pain to get to via transit. The tech workers in Santa Monica have access to rapid buses to and from Downtown and Koreatown; a solid, citywide Big Blue Bus system; and eventually to the Expo Line extension, which should open late this year or early next. But the closest rail comes to Playa Vista is nearly seven miles away in El Segundo (the Green Line) or more than five miles to the east in Culver City (the Expo Line), and both would require the final leg of the trip to be completed via at least one local bus.
Even new projects like the Crenshaw Line won't help workers get to Playa Vista. When the Crenshaw Line opens, the Aviation station at the airport will be physically closer to PV than the Green Line (not by much), but may not necessarily have a shorter trip time than the alternatives. Housing on the Westside and especially at Playa Vista is not cheap; formerly lowkey areas like Mar Vista and Westchester are now in boom times that are generally chalked up to the rise of the region's tech sector, and new housing at PV runs north of $1 million and one-bedrooms are renting for $2,500 a month.
Tech workers are well paid in general, but there are plenty of people who work for tech companies who aren't tech workers, and what are they supposed to do if they can't afford to move close to work? One solution is Google-Bus-style private luxury shuttle, like the one YP launched last year to shuttle Westsiders to its Glendale offices. There's also a new express bus that runs in the carpool lanes on the 405 between the Valley and the Westside (it won't get anyone to Playa Vista, but it's something). Or they can all just stay in their cars. Traffic sucks, but gas is cheap for now.
· It's No Day at the Beach on Transit to Playa Vista [HP]
· Google buys 12 acres in Playa Vista, vastly expands presence in L.A. [LAT]
· San-Francisco-Style Tech Separatism Has Arrived in LA [Curbed LA]