Steve Soboroff, president of Playa Capital Company LLC — developer of Playa Vista — gave us an update tour of Playa Vista this week.
It took most of an hour for Soboroff to navigate us through the project.
Among the updates we learned:
– 3,200 units have been completed and more than 4,000 people now live in Playa Vista.
– There are still about 1,200 units to be built.
– In The Village — the second phase of Playa Vista — residential units and above-ground-floor retail will have what Sobo- roff calls “a senior component” because “seniors want to be near retail.”
– The demand for Playa Vista units has been “incredible”; KB Home has received 6,400 applications for its 61 available units in The Lofts.
– The interest in Playa Vista is not only in residential; shopping center developer Rick Caruso — who is now refurbishing the Waterside Marina Shopping Center in the Marina and who will build a major retail project in The Village — has five tenants in line for each of the tenant spaces available.
– Many of the mixed-use projects are moving forward, with retail on the ground floor and residential units above; near Concert Park, Soboroff showed us The Lofts ground floor, where a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a Bank of America, and an environmentally-oriented dry cleaner are planned.
– Soboroff is seeking to have the Post Office retail facility now at Alla Road and Jefferson Boulevard near Home Depot moved across Jefferson Boulevard and into Playa Vista after the U.S. Postal Service closes its Marina Processing and Distribution Center July 14th.
– But Soboroff has no plans to have Playa Vista involved in the subsequent development of the processing and distribution center site. But he did share with us that the Postal Service already has a number of interested buyers. Soboroff estimates that the land purchase price will be over the $35 million being discussed in local chatter.
– As for purchase prices in Playa Vista, Soboroff says condo units at The Loft will sell for $300,000 to $700,000; while KB Home plans ten freestanding homes that will sell for “about $1.1 million to $1.2 million.”
– Several National Basketball Association players have bought into Playa Vista, no doubt drawn by the high ceilings and other king-sized amenities.
– “There isn’t a door at Playa Vista that someone doesn’t live behind,” Soboroff said — but quickly amending the statement to say that some projects with doors attached still haven’t been finished, “but they have been sold.”
– Soboroff says that because of the success of the early projects, architects are now willing to “kick up” colors and other “quality details” in subsequent units.
– Along a riparian corridor that Playa Vista is developing adjacent to the Westchester bluffs, Playa Vista plans a two-mile park that will run between Lincoln Boulevard on the west and Centinela Avenue on the east.
– The park will also have an interpretive center on the north side of the park and Playa Vista is contributing the land and $1.4 million to the interpretive center and Loyola Marymount University is putting in another $700,000.
– Teale Street is being renamed Bluff Creek Drive and Soboroff says the east-west street will provide another access for Lincoln Boulevard commuters seeking to reach the San Diego Freeway (I-405) but avoid the cluttered intersections to the north.
– Lincoln Boulevard will be expanded by an extra lane between LMU Drive and the Marina and raised to avoid the periodic flooding that now exists on Lincoln Boulevard.
– Even dogs are in the Playa Vista plans; two of three planned off-leash dog parks are already finished and a third is planned along the eastern end of the riparian corridor.
– In the center of Playa Vista in an area the developer is calling “The Campus” are the hangar of the old Hughes Aircraft and some 11 “historical buildings.”
– “The Campus” will include 2.8 million square feet and Soboroff says he has been negotiating with Loyola Marymount University to have the university use some of the historic building for the “expansion” LMU officials are anticipating.
– Playa Vista has sponsored a project that ensures that ten percent of all the construction jobs at Playa Vista go to released convicts, to help the convicts get back on their feet.
– “Two thousand people have gone through that program — one out of every ten (Playa Vista) workers,” Soboroff said.
– Those in the project — dubbed PV-JOBS — are being mentored by union members, he told us.
– Countywide during the past three years, 68 percent of all convicts released in the county have returned to jail, Soboroff said; but only six percent of those previous convicts in the PV-JOBS project have returned to jail.
SOBOROFF PLANS — Steve Soboroff came to Playa Vista in November 2000 after failing to win a spot in the runoff for Los Angeles mayor in the 2000 election.
Soboroff says his first three-year contract with Playa Vista has expired and he has signed another three-year contract.
But more important, Soboroff told us he now holds “a small piece” of Playa Vista.
As for the financial future of the project, Soboroff emphasizes that there is “no mortgage on any of these lands.”
There have been a few changes from early plans. A north-south Bay Street just east of Lincoln Boulevard was to include a bridge across Ballona Creek, offering an alternative to Lincoln Boulevard.
But the state now holds title to the former Playa Vista Parcel C, just north of Ballona Creek, and has no interest in any road coming across Ballona Creek and into Parcel C.
One of the streets near Bay Street has been renamed EA Avenue to reflect use of the big complex on the Lincoln-Jefferson Boulevard by Electronic Arts.