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By Sheena Lye, MMF ’09

PlayaVista.JPGOn April 10th 2009, a team of ten master’s in finance and MBA students from the real estate development class went with professor Edward Dyl to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, we had the pleasure of meeting Steve Soboroff, Chairman and CEO of Playa Vista, and his team. During the course of our one day trip to L.A., Steve played an excellent host as we toured Playa Vista, a successful mixed-use development that Steve and his team built.

Playa Vista was formerly the site of Howard Hughes’ aircraft plant, runway and hangars. Situated between Marina del Rey and Westchester and minutes from LAX, the charming Westside and the beach, Playa Vista is the first new community to be established on the Westside of L.A. in over 50 years. This new community balances needed housing, neighborhood shopping, office space, parks and habitat protection on Los Angeles’ Westside.  

At Playa Vista, we found a community that includes homes built for today’s lifestyles. The homes include a diverse collection of residences from detached single-family homes, town homes and condominiums to urban-style lofts–all with state-of-the-art amenities. Businesses, parks, and planned neighborhood retail are all within easy walking distance. Residents park in underground garages to make the streets more open and inviting.

We were impressed by the diversity of the community and charmed by the fact that the development took the natural environment into consideration. The development is also home to the Los Angeles Clippers Practice Facility and thanks to Steve, we had the good fortune to sneak in for a peek at where the stars train. To cap off the entire Playa Vista experience, all of us got a ride within the development in Steve’s new Tesla Roadster, a high performance electric sports car which goes from 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds. And I can safely say on behalf of the class, it was great!

Overall it was a memorable experience for everyone. It was enriching to hear Steve talk about his vision for Playa Vista and how he made it work, his personal beliefs and most importantly the A-Z traits of successful people. On behalf of the class, I will like to express my gratitude to Steve for this exhilarating experience.