About the Development

Playa Vista is the largest development ever proposed in the history of the City of Los Angeles. The development is divided up into two project phases: Phase I and Phase II. Phase I includes Areas D-1 and D-3. Phase II includes Area D-2.

Phase I was approved by the City of LA in 1993. After years of litigation, in 2000, the developers finally started construction of Phase I. About 2/3 of the Phase I development has been completed as of January, 2007.

Phase II was approved by the City of LA in September, 2004. A lawsuit was filed against the city in November, 2004, challenging the approval of this massive development without preparation of an adequate Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”), and in violation of the City’s General Plan. This challenge was denied by the Superior Court but has been presented to the Appellate Level Court and will be heard this April 2007. There are four parties to this lawsuit: The City of Santa Monica, Surfrider Foundation, representatives of the Tongva/Gabrieleno Native Americans and the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust. Recently, a similar but separate case has been added to the suite, the lead organization of this argument is the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project
 Click here to download our opening brief.

As currently proposed, Playa Vista Phase I and II have the following impacts:

  • 78,000 new car trips per day on our streets
  • 5 tons of new air pollution
  • 5,846 residential units
  • will crowd existing schools since no new school site is proposed by LAUSD
  • 1,425,000 square feet office space
  • 1,040,000 square feet commercial space
  • 200,000 square feet retail space
  • one 300-room hotel
  • five times the density of surrounding communities
  • destruction of approximately 300 acres of open space and wildlife habitat
  • destruction of 16 acres of jurisdictional wetlands
  • increase of pollution into Santa Monica Bay
  • destruction of aesthetics and views

Playa Capital:

Playa Capital, L.L.C., is a development company organized exclusively to build Playa Vista. It is owned by Wall Street investment bankers, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Goldman Sachs, as well as other investment firms such as Gary Winnick’s Pacific Capital and Oaktree Capital.

Corporate Welfare. Your Tax Dollars at Work:

The following is proposed, or has been approved, by the state of California or the City of Los Angeles to Playa Capital, L.L.C., to help the developers build their project:

  • $35 million in transportation projects for Playa Vista from California Transportation Authority
  • $35 million in reduced rates for water, power and sewers and tax credits from the City of Los Angeles
  • $448 million in city-backed tax-exempt municipal bonds
  • $78 million in CDLAC tax-exempt affordable housing bonds
  • Total corporate welfare = $596 million

For more information on Playa Vista’s corporate welfare, please read our
 Public Subsidies report white paper.

Projected Effects on Traffic:

Anyone who drives on the Westside of Los Angeles or along the 405 freeway knows that the roads are already over-capacity and congested with traffic most hours of the day. Many of you also know of the many building projects in the neighboring areas, like the new Costco complex, a number of new high-rise apartment buildings along Lincoln Boulevard, plus plans to expand LAX and a number of other proposed building developments in Marina del Rey.

Imagine what the addition of 78,000 new car trips per day, as generated by the proposed Playa Vista project, will do to already-congested Lincoln Boulevard, Sepulveda Boulevard, and the 405 freeway?

Destruction of Last Coastal Wetlands in Los Angeles:

California has lost over 95% of its wetlands and Los Angeles County has lost 98%. Although some of the ecosystem has now been destroyed by Playa Vista’s Phase One development, the Ballona Wetlands Ecosystem is the last large coastal wetlands ecosystem in Los Angeles County.

The loss of over 300 acres of open space and wildlife habitat would impact the long-term viability of the ecosystem. Already, we are seeing significant impacts to birds and animals as a result of Playa Vista’s destruction of approximately 200 acres of this ecosystem. Any further loss of acreage at Ballona will impair our ability to provide long-term, sustainable habitat for birds and animals and also provide open space and recreation for people to enjoy.