You can excuse those who live, work, or visit the western portions of Los Angeles County for being a bit confused over the geography. There is West LA, which seems to define either cities west of the 405 from Santa Monica to El Segundo or the Realtor definition of the portion of the City of Los Angeles east of Centinela Ave., south of Wilshire, west of the 405 to Pico, then south of pico to an eastern boundary of Westwood Blvd to a complete southern boundary of National Blvd.
Then there is The Westside. This might be everything from West Hollywood to the beach cities from Malibu to Venice. The distinction of being from the Westside is that you have arrived and are part of the “scene” in LA.
Of course the geography of Los Angeles County is already confusing due to the dominant city of Los Angeles being an amorphous blob of villages that gets cut up by other cities with no apparent plan in mind. So you can be driving down Wilshire and have the street numbers change every few miles because you have gone out of Los Angeles into Beverly Hills, then back into Los Angeles, and then into Santa Monica.
The average person on the street is likely to think Westwood, Venice, and Westchester are cities, and that El Segundo is a village.
And to now add even more geographic confusion to our Angeleno way of life – Everybody now wants to be part of Silicon Beach, which may or may not be the same as many of the geographic sites listed above.
What is Silicon Beach?
The name Silicon Beach seems to have first emerged around 2008 to describe the fast rising influence of tech companies on the look and feel of Santa Monica and Venice (a city and a village respectively). Both cities are almost unrecognizable compared to their former selves over just two short decades. Santa Monica is now a world-class city with real estate prices to match. Venice has radically transformed from a gang-ridden inner city mess to the capital of hipsterdom, and real estate prices have gone off the charts.
Culver City, the true home and hub of the movie business, already had its foot in the door due to the redevelopment of that city during the ‘90s and early 2000 period. During that time, Culver City often led the nation in increased real estate values.
Other cities and villages began to get a side benefit from the influx of tech businesses and jobs, including sleepy El Segundo and Manhattan Beach.
Then DTLA happened. Out of the blue the horrific downtown section of the second largest city in the US saw almost as many cranes as homeless people. In ten short years DTLA has gone from being a place to avoid to a destination for entertainment, food, and doing business.
All of the other cities around Santa Monica/Venice vied for the coattails of Silicon Beach as the branding began to catch on. But the mega-catalyst came in like a meteorite and exploded the now world-famous Silicon Beach into the second most important tech area in the US. A swamp (environmentalists call this swamp a wetlands area) that had been the home to Hughes Helicopter and several local bird species became the undisputed motherboard of Silicon Beach. (Happily a compromise was reached that created a permanent nature reserve out a portion of the wetlands area.) The meteor was called Playa Vista.
In eight short years the map below (compliments to TheRegistrysf.com gives you some idea of what happened in Playa Vista. Notice that the vast majority of the arrows are pointing toward one spot on the map. That would be Playa Vista.
With Google, YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo taking large stakes in this strip of land, it is hard to dispute that Silicon Beach has found it centroid.
So with that question cleared up, how far does Silicon Beach stretch? DTLA feels they should be included as does Burbank, Long Beach, and even OC. And if the definition of Silicon Beach is the merging of Tech, entertainment, and media, then certainly the Eastward expansion makes sense. If finance is included, you probably need Irvine. The other cities would just say: “We have major tech companies, too.
For now, a consensus seems to be that Silicon Beach includes everything West of the 405 from Santa Monica to either El Segundo or Manhattan Beach. On the East side of the 405 there can be no doubt that Westwood and Culver City are members of the elite club. Further South, it seems inevitable that Ladera Heights and West Inglewood (think Forum and Rams), are now or will be sucked into the vortex.
How might any or all of this affect you?
If you like the idea of living where you work and shop, that is the future in the new gentrified or planned communities that are serving this population. The demand is for a suburbs feeling right in the middle of downtown, whether DTLA, Santa Monica or Playa Vista. The folks are demanding low auto-impact zones where you can walk or cycle to work, shopping, and play. They also want more public transportation options like the newly opened Expo Line from DTLA to 4th St in Santa Monica.
You will pay more to live in a community like that, but you might end up saving money. Many who have already made the move say they can live just fine without an owned car, using Uber for short trips and Turo shared car rentals to get out of town for the weekend. If you can live without one automobile, you can probably afford another $1000 per month for your mortgage or rent.
If you already live in or near Silicon Beach, and you think the time to sell is now, or if you must move due to a change in your life, I can help you to get top dollar for your home, townhouse, loft, or condo. If you are ready to move into the area, I can help you find the perfect home for your family. Call Today at 310-962-6942.