Culver City Edition Local News

LAX Northside Plan to benefit Westchester

LOS ANGELES — The City Council approved a plan June 14 that lays out a blueprint for redeveloping a 340-acre plot north of Los Angeles International Airport as a commercial and office district in Westchester.

The council voted 12-0 to approve the LAX Northside Plan, which calls for restaurants, retail shops, recreation and open space, an office park and a three-mile walking path to the beach at Playa del Rey.

Councilman Mike Bonin said the plan was approved in conjunction with the Westchester area’s 75th anniversary.

“Westchester and Playa del Rey deserve a vibrant, thriving community and the Northside Plan will offer neighbors open space and recreation facilities to play in, restaurants and retail space to dine and shop in, and a campus-like office space to work in,” Bonin said.

“This plan puts neighborhoods first and is a shining example of our world-class airport acting like a first-class neighbor,” Bonin said. “I cannot think of a better gift as Westchester gets ready to celebrate the past 75 years and looks forward to the next 75.”

“The LAX Northside Plan shows what we can accomplish when we work together to build the future of our economy and preserve the unique character of L.A.’s neighborhoods,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “This plan will transform a vacant lot into a creative and economic hub that will help revitalize the neighborhood with new jobs, retail and green space.”

Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners Vice President Valeria Velasco, who represents Westchester on the board said, “Approval of this plan demonstrates definitively that [the airport] and its neighbors can work collaboratively to produce a result that benefits everyone.

“Economic development, community resources, and improved airport support areas will be excellent additions to our neighborhood, and we are all looking forward to seeing the work begin.”

Development guidelines for the plan include state-of-the-art sustainability measures, building designs requiring lower heights, a cluster near Westchester Parkway, meaningful buffers adjacent to residential properties, and access from Westchester Parkway rather than through neighborhoods to reduce cut-through traffic.

The plan also calls for transforming the current roadway into a multi-use “paseo” along Westchester Parkway that would enhance pedestrian and bicycle access between the Downtown Westchester Business District and the beach.

Specific projects will be considered later for the area covered under the newly approved plan, according to Bonin aide David Graham-Caso.

Bonin will work with Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, and the mayor’s office on an “implementation plan” that will lay out what request for proposals will be issued, Graham-Caso said.

According to Bonin’s office, the plan improves on an “outdated” proposal from the 1980s that called for greater density. When Los Angeles World Airports first purchased the plots that make up the site during the 1970s and 1980s, the plan had been to construct tall buildings, with less open space.

The new plan sets aside 175,000 square feet for public use and 50 acres for park space, according to Bonin’s office.