Silicon Beach is Booming and Shifting to Playa Vista

Silicon Beach is Booming and Shifting to Playa Vista

Things are looking bright for Silicon Beach.

  • Entrepreneur Magazine reports that according to the L.A. Economic Development Council, the city has more people employed in high-tech jobs (368,500) than any other metro region in the U.S.   In addition, according to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity the city claimed 490 entrepreneurs per 100,000 people which puts it just behind San Francisco’s 570 per 100,000, but way ahead of New York’s 320.
  • City National Bank reports that $333 million in Q2-2014 alone -with almost half of that with startups in Santa Monica.
  • Google just purchased 12 acres in Playa Vista and will lease an adjacent 319,000 square feet facility in what could bring up to 6,000 jobs to the area.

Last week Yahoo! announced it was moving from the center that bears its name in Santa Monica, to a new 130,000 square feet development in Playa Vista that could house as many as 650 employees.  The move is a boost for the area, which includes other tech notables such as Belkin, Electronic Arts, ICANN, Facebook, Microsoft, Rubicon Project and YouTube, over neighboring Santa Monica.  An article in today’s Los Angeles Times boasts that Playa Vista is turning into Silicon Valley South.

Playa Vista Background

Playa Vista was where Howard Hughes constructed his private airfield – Hughes Airport – with a factory and air hangars for Hughes Aircraft.  Hughes eventually moved production down to Long Beach and the area remained undeveloped for decades due to legal wrangling first over Hughes’ estate and then over the environmental impact of any development on the area wetlands.

In the 1990’s it was touted as the future home for DreamWorks Studio that has since been merged into Viacom   The size of the area affords the tech giants to have campus-like facilities as they do in Silicon Valley.  The area has been developed with a focus on mixed-use and open space that is more like Silicon Valley than other areas of Southern California.  In addition to the tech giants listed above, a number of entertainment companies and even the Los Angeles Clippers have recently established a presence here.

Victory for Garcetti

The Yahoo! and Google moves are a great coup for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who was elected with the strong backing of the Silicon Beach tech community.  Garcetti has been pursuing a very tech oriented agenda that includes exploring developing gigabit broadband in Los Angeles, adding WiFi to the metro system and expanding the subway to reach Silicon Beach.  It comes just as the Mayor reports what was a banner year for the Los Angeles tech community with over $3 billion in capital invested compared to only $871 million prior to his taking office.

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