Construction is underway on the long-awaited city center for Playa Vista that will include its first grocery store -- a Whole Foods Market.
About the size of four city blocks, the $260-million shopping and apartment project called Runway is intended to be the commercial and social heart of the planned community that has been under construction for more than a decade on land south of Marina del Rey once controlled by aviation mogul Howard Hughes.
Playa Vista already has more than 3,200 residences and 2 million square feet of offices but lacks a commercial and social town center.
Runway is set to rise next to Jefferson Boulevard and include a movie theater, “chef-driven” restaurants and shops. Apartments and office spaces are planned to rise above ground-floor retail shops and top out at four stories.
Whole Foods is to move into a 35,755-square-foot space adjacent to McConnell Avenue on the retail center’s ground level. Texas-based Cinemark Theaters plans to operate a nine-screen theater with self-serve concession stands and an open plaza with a cocktail lounge.
Other planned retailers include CVS Pharmacy and Veggie Grill. A national bank branch is also in the works.
The project, expected to be completed in less than two years, is being developed by Lincoln Property Co., Phoenix Property Co. and Paragon Commercial Group.
“This project has been a long time coming, so we are excited to be moving to the next stage in the development process and to be that much closer to injecting more energy into this already vibrant community,” said David Binswanger, executive vice president of Lincoln Property.
The developers were aided by a new $150-million construction loan through a syndicate of banks led by Bank of America, he said.
Canopies are to mark entry points to Runway, and small gathering areas set up around fountains and fire pits. Included in the design by Los Angeles architecture firm Johnson Fain is a 1,400-car garage accessible from Jefferson.
A lantern-shaped tower with a steel mesh exterior and dramatic lighting is to house a central lanai lounge that will anchor the center and serve as Runway’s central meeting place.
The town center is to have 420 apartments and 35,000 square feet of offices spread across three separate buildings.