Yahoo to move Santa Monica operations to booming tech hub Playa Vista

Internet company Yahoo Inc. is moving its Santa Monica operations to Playa Vista

Yahoo Inc. is moving its Santa Monica operations to Playa Vista, joining the droves of major tech companies that have opened offices in the booming Westside neighborhood.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet company signed a long-term lease for about 130,000 square feet at the new Collective campus in Playa Vista. The move will bring at least 400 jobs from its current location, with space to accommodate growth.

"We worked hard to identify the right office situation for Yahoo in Southern California to better match our space and collaboration needs," Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said in a statement. "While we have always had a presence in Southern California, working out of the city of Los Angeles is a priority for us now more than ever."

Goldman said the company chose Playa Vista because of its "access to talent" as well as the culture of the area. The move, which had been expected, is scheduled to happen in the fall; a Yahoo spokeswoman said the company would keep its current office space in Burbank.

Yahoo is just the latest company to join the burgeoning technology hub in Playa Vista.

Google last month spent nearly $120 million on 12 vacant acres in Playa Vista next to a historic hangar where aviator Howard Hughes built his famous "Spruce Goose" airplane. The land is zoned for nearly 900,000 square feet of commercial space that could house offices or studios, vastly more room than Google now occupies in a handful of buildings in Los Angeles County.

Google is also expected to lease the Hughes hangar, which was built in 1943. The 319,000-square-foot building has recently housed soundstages for movie and television production.

Microsoft Corp. opened a roughly 20,000-square-foot space in Playa Vista in 2013 to house 130 employees who had previously been in downtown L.A. Facebook Inc. has operations nearby. The neighborhood boasts the headquarters of online advertising platform Rubicon Project, consumer electronics and accessories maker Belkin International and ICANN, the nonprofit organization responsible for assigning Internet domains.

Playa Vista is also home to USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, which has attracted several top virtual reality researchers. The institute is where Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey once worked as a designer.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been aggressively pushing to make L.A. a tech power player. His Office of Economic Development worked closely with Yahoo to encourage the company to make the move.

"I'm proud that Yahoo is moving to Los Angeles and sending a strong message to the business community that our city is where the next big thing is going to be," Garcetti said. "This move proves that L.A. is accelerating as a center of technology and entertainment."

Techies and L.A. City Council members say they hope the move will spur further tech growth in the area.

"Playa Vista is a perfect home for smart, innovative tech firms, and Yahoo will add to a growing energy and spirit as Playa Vista becomes the real hub of Silicon Beach," said Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Playa Vista.

Yahoo has media and tech operations in Southern California and has been at its Santa Monica space since 2005, when it signed a 10-year lease agreement at the Colorado Center. The complex was built in phases beginning in the early 1980s.

The Collective at Playa Vista, scheduled to open July 1, is a 204,422-square-foot, five-building office campus on nearly nine acres. Yahoo will occupy roughly two-thirds of the property. Now that the campus has an anchor tenant, it will begin to fill the rest of the space.

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