October 26, 2009
Playa Vista & Spruce Goose
One of my colleagues, Professor William L. "Billy" Want, is a treasure trove of information about land use law and anything related to the environment. Click here for information related to his background and publications. Listed in "Best Lawyers," Professor Want's private practice included projects on behalf of Howard Hughes Properties. During this time, he obtained environmental permitting for a large mixed-use development in Los Angeles, an area known as Playa Vista--property the Wall Street Journal once described as the most valuable undeveloped property in America. As one of the first examples of form-based planning, those studying the recently enacted Miami 21 plan might find comparisons to Playa Vista useful.
For you historic preservation types, Playa Vista is located on the grounds used by the Hughes Aircraft Co. to construct Spruce Goose, a giant flying machine also known as the "Flying Boat" or, as Howard Hughes preferred, the Hercules or H-4. (Ultimately, this gargantuan cargo plane flew for about one mile and never flew again.) Because of the historic significance of Spruce Goose and related projects in aviation research and development, the site is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 274,000 square foot assembly building constructed there to house Spruce Goose is one of the largest wood frame buildings in the world. The architect of this building, Henry L. Gogerty, contributed earlier work to the Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District. Special thanks to Professor Want for sharing with me the Historic Property Survey Report for the Hughes Aircraft Site at Playa Vista.
Will Cook, Charleston School of Law
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