PLAYA VISTA, CA-A joint venture of Tishman Speyer and Walton Street Capital LLC has acquired 64 acres entitled for 2.2 million sf of office space at the 1,000-acre Playa Vista project. Neither the buyer nor seller Playa Phase I Commercial Land Co. would comment on the price, but industry sources estimate that the JV paid $200 million for the land, which includes the huge hangar in which Howard Hughes built his legendary Spruce Goose wooden aircraft, along with 10 other historic buildings.

John Miller, West Coast senior managing director for Tishman Speyer, tells that the developer expects to begin construction of the first 400,000 sf of the office space in February 2008 and have the 400,000 sf completed in about a year. That 400,000 sf will be part of 900,000 sf that Tishman Speyer will develop on one of the properties at Playa Vista. After that 900,000 sf is absorbed, Tishman Speyer will redevelop the other property, which includes the Spruce Goose hangar and the 10 other existing buildings.

The property that the Tishman Speyer-Walton Street JV bought is located in the eastern portion of the Playa Vista community known as “the Campus at Playa Vista,” adjacent to the intersection of Jefferson Boulevard and Centinela Avenue. The 11 historic buildings occupy land that was home to the famed Hughes Aircraft Co. during much of the 20th Century.

Playa Vista president Steve Soboroff calls the sale of the 64 acres instrumental in developing “a key part of the vision of Playa Vista,” which combines residential and commercial space with parks and open spaces in a master-planned design. The design calls for low-rise office buildings “complementing the historic buildings on the site,” Soboroff says.

Miller notes that the 330,000-sf Spruce Goose hangar has been used over the years as a movie set and that some of the other historic buildings have also been used by the entertainment industry. No definite plans have been established for the redevelopment of the historic structures, but they might be redeveloped as office or entertainment production space, Miller says.

Other elements of the Playa Vista plan, Soboroff points out, include restaurant and retail space and a day care facility. The 64-acre property surrounds a nine-acre recreation park planned to include playing fields.

Playa Phase I Commercial Land Co. was represented in the land sale by Carl Muhlstein, Eric Olofson and Mike DeSantis of Cushman & Wakefield. The acreage is part of a development that already includes a population of about 4,500, with 70% of its original 1,086-acre land area designated as parks and open space.

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