Silicon Beach – A Place of Innovation: Past, Present and Future

Playa Vista has been the center of modern innovation in Los Angeles for quite some time. You may be thinking of aerospace – it was where Howard Hughes’ legendary Spruce Goose airplane was built in a hangar on land previously owned by the billionaire. Now it is ground zero for technology & internet companies in LA, as technology giants such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo are setting up offices there. Previously the hot spot was in Santa Monica, but it has moved south to Playa Vista where there is a less expensive, roomier office to be built, bought or leased.

Silicon Beach Before Silicon Beach

The area now known as Playa Vista used to be the home of Howard Hughes’ airport and factory. In 1940, Hughes bought 380 acres of land for $500,000, as it was one of the few areas of remaining undeveloped land. On the land, known as Hughes Airport, the tycoon built a 60,000 sq. ft. air conditioned aircraft plant and a 7,200 foot runway. The factory was used to build the famous Spruce Goose plane, also known as H-4 Hercules. The plane innovative for two reasons – it is the largest “flying boat” ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. Both records stand to this day.

Silicon Beach – Today

Today, Belkin, Yahoo, Microsoft, ICANN and the YouTube Space all call Playa Vista home.  In December 2014, Google bought 12 acres of vacant land where the Hughes Airport once stood. Google reportedly spent $120 million to purchase part of the property where the famous Spruce Goose aircraft was built. We are seeing that some of the biggest tech companies in the world are moving their regional offices from the older parts of Silicon Beach, such as Santa Monica and Venice, to newer parts like Playa Vista.

This has helped make Playa Vista the center of Silicon Beach, as Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo move into the area. The influx of jobs in the area will also make way for large-scale multifamily & single family residential investment projects. To be competitive, multifamily in SB are offering amenities that will attract employees that desire to live in the same neighborhood they work and play. Much like the tech companies, many apartment/condo developments will feature state-of-the-art amenities, like swimming pools, patios, open spaces and gyms. Not to mention a variety of retail, such as grocery stores, movie theatres, restaurants, etc. in many of the mixed-use properties.

Silicon Beach – In the Future

It will be interesting to see how Playa Vista & the rest of Silicon Beach develops, especially as Google and other tech giants are moving and will continue to move into the area. Maybe we will see the region expand elsewhere such as Westwood, West LA, Downtown LA, Hollywood and Pasadena. Many technology companies (eHarmony, Riot Games, etc.) are already moving into these regions as they are motivated partly by the cheaper rents and tax incentives. Due to the move from the coastal areas, the LA tech hotspot might have to change its name to something other than Silicon Beach.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the present and future of Silicon Beach, feel free to contact us. We can help you with acquiring your dream creative space needs, be a part of the new wave of innovation.

Image © XWL - Creative Commons License