*PLAYA PEOPLE – MEET BEXLEY:
Bexley has been living and working in Marina Del Rey since April 2009
FUN FACT: Won $10,000 in a New Jersey lottery
*PLAYA – NEWS: CHINESE TECH GIANT EXPANDS FOOTPRINT IN PLAYA VISTA
Chinese tech giant Tencent is significantly expanding its footprint in Los Angeles, opening an office in Playa Vista that could house 300 employees. The Shenzhen, China-based developer of games such as “Honor of Kings” previously divided its U.S. division’s L.A. employees across three offices in Santa Monica, Claremont and Century City. The more than 53,000-square-foot Playa Vista office, which opens this week, consolidates the staff into one space. Employees will move into the new building following COVID-19 safety protocols. “Los Angeles is a powerhouse for creativity and innovation, and we are proud to deepen our roots in the community with our long-standing partners in the video game and entertainment industries,” said Brent Irvin, Tencent’s general counsel and president of Tencent America, in a statement. “We see tremendous opportunities to continue to grow our development capabilities and product offerings and to create high-value jobs in Los Angeles.”
Tencent America, the company’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based U.S. division, said it plans to double the size of its 150-person L.A. workforce. Over the next three years, the company says it will hire employees for the new Playa Vista office who work in video game design and development, programming and data engineering. “The neighborhood sits at the intersection of the technology, gaming and entertainment industries and is home to many big tech companies as well as start-ups,” Tencent said in a statement. “There is a diverse and attractive talent pool to draw on.” The Playa Vista facility is located on West Jefferson Boulevard near Facebook’s office. The space includes a fitness center, cafe, production facilities and game rooms. There are also themed spaces that highlight L.A. landmarks such as the Hollywood sign.
Playa Vista has been a popular area for tech companies and is considered part of Silicon Beach — Southern California’s own version of the Silicon Valley. Google in 2018 opened a more than 450,000-square-foot complex at the Spruce Goose hangar; and in 2016 Facebook moved into a larger Playa Vista office. “What makes the location attractive is its proximity to the rest of Silicon Beach, its location near coastal communities, the campus-like configuration of most of the office space, as well as the retail amenities at Playa Vista,” said Ryan Patap, director of market analytics at CoStar, which provides commercial real estate information.
*PLAYA – NEWS: JULY 4 FIREWORKS RETURN TO MARINA DEL REY
Fireworks will be back in Marina del Rey for July 4, organizers to Playa Vista People. The show starts at 9 p.m. July 4 and will run for about 10 minutes. Fireworks will launch from the South Jetty instead of a barge on the channel — where it was launched in previous years. Some of the best viewing spots include:
- Anywhere in the marina
- Burton Chace Park
- Mother’s Beach
- Fisherman’s Village
- Aubrey Austin Park, along Via Marina, or Marina Peninsula, south of Venice Pier
*PLAYA – PEOPLE: MEET MACKENZIE
Mackenzie eat two (2) bananas a day from Whole Foods in Playa Vista
*PLAYA – NEWS: EYES ON THE STREET – CULVER CITY EXPO BIKE PATH GAP
Streetsblog got a chance to ride the Expo bike path through Culver City recently. As construction is winding down on the Ivy Station transit-oriented development immediately north of the E Line Culver City Station, it is becoming more apparent how the Expo bikeway connects (or mostly doesn’t) through the station area. The Expo Line bikeway parallels the Metro E Line for 12 miles – from USC to Santa Monica. East of La Cienega Boulevard, the Expo bikeway is five miles of on-street bike lanes. West of La Cienega, the path is seven miles of off-street bike/walk path, except for two short gaps. The city of L.A. has plans to complete the path through the Northvale gap in Cheviot Hills. And then there’s a gap at the Culver City station.
This gap is mostly in Culver City, but it is partially in the city of Los Angeles. The Culver/L.A. boundary runs through the middle of Ivy Station; Venice Boulevard is all in the city of Los Angeles. Culver City has generally been a leader in planning for walking, bicycling, transit, and open streets – including pioneering worthwhile new facilities during COVID. There are worthwhile bicycling connections in this area near downtown Culver City, including the Expo bike path connection with the Ballona Creek bike path. The negotiations between Metro’s Expo Construction Authority and Culver City were contentious in regards to teeing up the development that would become Ivy Station.
Unfortunately, Culver City’s treatment of the Expo bike path leaves something to be desired. The path ends, and instead of cyclists having a fairly direct route through the ~0.3-mile gap, they are expected to ride ~0.5-mile on heavily trafficked city streets. The bike path itself is an “8 to 80” facility – great for all ages of riders, including families and the elderly. The dogleg detour through Culver City is unprotected, mostly bike lanes. The lanes go along (and make detoured cyclists cross) four- and six-lane streets. Cyclists are expected to make right and left turns from lanes shared with cars. What is sad is that, even in these spaces – at a light rail station, in the middle of a 7-mile bike path – Culver City and the City of L.A. are prioritizing drivers.
For both Culver City and L.A.:
- The current signage wrongly assumes that bicyclists won’t go to the E Line station. There is signage to get cyclists from the eastern part of the bike path to the western part of the bike path, but no signage showing cyclists how to get to the train station. These bike paths serve as first/last mile connections to the station. Add permanent signage to make it clear how cyclists can get to the Culver City E Line station. (Similarly there should be some signage for cyclists arriving by train looking to access the path.)
- For the pedestrian area along Ivy Station, assume that bicyclists will use this – including to access the Metro E Line, and to access Ivy Station. Instead of the circle-slash-bike signs I expect will be installed there, how about some kind of shared space notice? Let cyclists know that they are sharing the area with pedestrians. Perhaps some combination of sharrows and slow speed signage would be conducive to the ped/bike space-sharing that will take place there.
*PLAYA – NEWS: AS L.A. REOPENS, CAFES, GYMS, AND RESTAURANTS HOPE OFFICE WORKERS WILL COME BACK
Cafe Ruisseau owner Edward Ackah-Miezah,
– Playa Vista
With California lifting statewide COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, L.A.’s small businesses are poised to fully reopen. For most businesses, the indoor capacity limits and mask mandates are gone. But does that mean their customers will come back? That’s the big question for many L.A. restaurants, gyms and coffee shops that rely on office workers coming in every day. Office employees have gotten used to working from home during the pandemic. Many would love to ditch their commute permanently. And some companies plan to let them keep working from home full-time. Only about 25% of L.A. area office workers have been keying into their buildings lately, said Eric Willett, director of research at commercial real estate firm CBRE. The loss of foot traffic means “there’s absolutely been an impact … on these ancillary services,” he said.Location, Location, Location.
At Cafe Ruisseau in Playa Vista, barista Daniel Sernas said he’s starting to notice customers trickling in from nearby offices. But business is still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. “It was pretty slow when we first reopened due to COVID,” Sernas said. “Not a lot of people from the community knew that we were here.” That’s because Cafe Ruisseau isn’t exactly easy to find. It’s tucked away in a business center courtyard, sandwiched between gleaming office buildings and a large concrete parking structure. Cafe owner Edward Ackah-Miezah said when he first moved in five years ago, the location provided plenty of steady customers. “I’d say 85% of the customer base was made up of office workers,” he said. But when COVID-19 struck last year, those customers vanished overnight. Office employees started Zooming into work from their apartments — and brewing their own coffee at home. This pocket of Playa Vista became a ghost town.
Ackah-Miezah had to attract customers from the surrounding community. He put up signs on nearby streets, changed the cafe’s hours and kept it open during weekends. “We’ve really made sure that people know that we’re here,” he said. “We’re a Black-owned business. We’re on different lists of Black-owned coffee shops. So people have been intentional about coming to see us, which has been great.” But sales are still only about one-third of what they used to be. Cafe Ruisseau is one of many small businesses in L.A. that once thrived on catering to office workers. It remains to be seen whether those customers will ever fully come back.
*PLAYA – PEOPLE: MEET MELINDA
Melinda has been working in Playa Vista since August 2019
FUN FACT: Has been skydiving three times.
*PLAYA – LENS:
*PLAYA – READER QUESTION:
Should security guards in Playa Vista be watching YouTube videos while they are working?
Send your reply to: PlayaVistaPeople@TimeWire.net
*PLAYA – PEO0PLE INTERVIEW: MEET TOVA
Tova has been living and working in Culver City since January of 2020.
YES OR NO INTERVIEW:
· Do mice really eat cheese? YES
· Is your shoe size 14? NO
· Can you see out the back of your head? NO
· Are Martians really green? YES
· Have elves always live at the North Pole? YES
*PLAYA – PETALS ‘N’ WAX:
Jimmy Steinfeldt Book Signing. Save the date!
Saturday June 19th 2-4pm in person at Petals ‘N’ Wax
INTRODUCTION BY APOLLONIA
The signing will be outdoors at this wonderful store. Everyone who buys a copy of Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens I will take your photograph with my Leica camera and give you a digital copy. Hope to see you there. Next Saturday from 2 pm – 4 pm.
Petals ‘N’ Wax
13432 Maxella Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
310-305-8883 Jimmy https://www.jimmysteinfeldt.com/
*PLAYA – HISTORY:
*PLAYA – SEE IT:
A moment of tranquility and beauty in Playa Del Rey
*PLAYA PEOPLE – MEET WALT:
Walt has been living in Westchester since December 2009
FUN FACT: Walt is allergic to bananas
*PLAYA – BULLETIN BOARD:
1. *** “If you are thinking of buying a bike in the Playa Vista area, I strongly recommend Bike Attack. Todd the Manager is brilliant. P.S the electric bikes are mega cool.” – Happy Customer, Arland H., Playa Vista
2. ***People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors. —– Devin U., Westchester.
3. ***Homeless sleeps in our car at night. We live in one of these rental apartment buildings in MDR. We have a gated parking structure to park our car inside. Lately. We found out some elder model cars got broken in and taken over by homeless sleeping overnights. Apartment management doesn’t have a camera to catch it nor care. Is there anything we can do to prevent this? They leave such a stinky smell (probably urine and poops) on the seats, a few kinds of stuff got stolen as well. —- Mathilda Wg, Marina Del Rey.
4. ***The dog has supplanted both the spouse and the child to in developed countries and is awkwardly mimicked in countries with a growing bourgeoisie. It’s astonishing how the human family can be replaced by incredibly unintelligent and short-lived animals without anyone giving it a second thought. —- Gloria M., Playa Del Rey.
5.***“It is entirely possible for a fictional character to have more of an impact in reality than a living person. —- Oliva D., Playa Del Rey
6. ***“If we mounted cameras on Ubers or Lyfts we could update Google maps street view every week. —- Jose G., Westchester
7. ***“We figured out how to put a man on the moon before we figured out how to put wheels on luggage. —– Lili Z., Marina Del Rey.
8. ***“Just like children’s cereal, you’d think dog food manufacturers would also include a toy in the bag. —– Pedro P., Playa Del Rey.
9.***“Kids in the future will probably be impressed that some watches don’t need to be charged. —- Rev. Thomas K., Culver City.
10. ***“The voice inside your head never has to stop to take a breath.—- Lisa P., Culver City.
11. ***Radicals in our midst – www.dsa-la.org
12.***People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors. —– Devin U., Westchester.
13. ***Homeless sleeps in our car at night. We live in one of these rental apartment buildings in MDR. We have a gated parking structure to park our car inside. Lately. We found out some elder model cars got broken in and taken over by homeless sleeping overnights. Apartment management doesn’t have a camera to catch it nor care. Is there anything we can do to prevent this? They leave such a stinky smell (probably urine and poops) on the seats, a few kinds of stuff got stolen as well. —- Mathilda Wg, Marina Del Rey.
14. ***The dog has supplanted both the spouse and the child to in developed countries and is awkwardly mimicked in countries with a growing bourgeoisie. It’s astonishing how the human family can be replaced by incredibly unintelligent and short-lived animals without anyone giving it a second thought. —- Gloria M., Playa Del Rey.
15. ***“It is entirely possible for a fictional character to have more of an impact in reality than a living person. —- Oliva D., Playa Del Rey
16. ***“If we mounted cameras on Ubers or Lyfts we could update Google maps street view every week. —- Jose G., Westchester
17. ***“We figured out how to put a man on the moon before we figured out how to put wheels on luggage. —– Lili Z., Marina Del Rey.
18. ***“Just like children’s cereal, you’d think dog food manufacturers would also include a toy in the bag. —– Pedro P., Playa Del Rey.
19. ***“Kids in the future will probably be impressed that some watches don’t need to be charged. —- Rev. Thomas K., Culver City.
20.***“The voice inside your head never has to stop to take a breath.—- Lisa P., Culver City.
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