Anchor tenant of the Runway at Playa Vista development opens Wednesday

By Bonnie Eslinger

It’s finally here: Whole Foods Market was slated to open  on Wednesday at the Runway in Playa Vista. Photo by Bonnie Eslinger

It’s finally here: Whole Foods Market was slated to open
on Wednesday at the Runway in Playa Vista.
Photo by Bonnie Eslinger

Playa Vista’s long-awaited Whole Foods Market is set to open Wednesday, marking a major milestone for the Westside’s newest neighborhood and red-hot tech industry hub.

The upscale grocery store specializing in natural and prepared foods is an anchor tenant for the 11-acre Runway at Playa Vista development. Still partially under construction, Runway will serve as Playa Vista’s restaurant and retail core, but also features office space and 420 apartments. A state-of-the-art nine-screen Cinemark movie theater and a CVS pharmacy opened earlier this year.

“Playa Vista is a vibrant community that’s growing as a popular residential and business area,” reads a statement by Whole Foods Market . “We saw Runway as an ideal location in the midst of community activity.”

At 35,000 square feet, the Whole Foods facing Jefferson Boulevard and McConnell Avenue is designed to serve residents and lunching office workers with “expansive social spaces designed to serve as extensions of the home and cultivate a uniquely connected community,” the Whole Foods statement continues.

There’s also a full-service bar called the Astro Pub, home delivery service to Playa Vista residents and meal plan compatibility for Loyola Marymount University students.

Other businesses slated to open their doors in the coming months at the $260 million-plus Runway development include a Starbucks, several restaurants, two bank branches, fitness centers and beauty salons, said Chris Daniell, retail division manager for Runway developer Lincoln Property Company.

Runway is also finalizing negotiations to lease its 33,000 square feet of office space to a single company; an announcement of the deal is expected soon, Daniell said.

Playa Vista CVS store manager Yasir Chaudhry said he expects the opening of Whole Foods to be a major attraction that enlivens the area.

“That’s going to be the only grocery store around here,” Chaudhry said.

Built on the former grounds of the Hughes Aircraft Company, Playa Vista is already home to YouTube Space L.A. as well as several major video game design, Internet technology and digital marketing firms. Yahoo and Google are soon to launch offices within the 460-acre planned community.

During this second phase of development, about 6,000 new homes will eventually fill in the rest of Playa Vista. Combined with the existing mix of mostly condos and apartments, Playa Vista will soon be able to accommodate about 13,000 residents, according to master developer Brookfield Residential.

Gary and Wendy Niles moved into Playa Vista during its first phase of construction years ago and are happy to see some of the promised amenities finally opening up. On a quiet Sunday, they slipped into the Cinemark to catch a matinee screening of the disaster blockbuster “San Andreas.”

“It’s walkable, like a neighborhood,” Gary Niles said.

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The official grand opening of the Playa Vista Whole Foods Market is at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 17. The first 200 shoppers will receive a free reusable bag with
a unique Playa Vista design and a coffee mug from Allegro Coffee.

Shoppers can get a sneak peak inside the store during a Friends of Ballona Wetlands fundraiser from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 15. The suggested donation is $10.

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