Monday, March 31, 2014

What To Expect from Warner Center's Rocketdyne Development

The post-Cold War exodus of Los Angeles' aerospace industry has left behind large swaths of underutilized industrial land.  Chief amongst those properties is a 47-acre parcel at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Canoga Avenue, which was previously occupied by Rocketdyne.  Located in the heart of Warner Center, talk of development has swirled around the property since 2011.  Finally, developer Boston Global Investors tipped their hand last week.  In a Wednesday article from the Daily News, BGI announced plans for LA Warner Center, a $3 billion dollar development consisting of residential, office, retail and hotel uses.  Although exact designs and building heights have yet to be finalized, a site plan linked to BGI's website calls for multiple high-rise structures centered around a five-acre public park.  As mandated by the new Warner Center Specific Plan, the Rocketdyne project looks to encourage transit usage, pedestrian activity, and even a connection to the LA River.  Architectural firms HOK and Arup have been commissioned to design the project, which is owned by former Rocketdyne parent company, United Technologies Corporation.  The aforementioned site plan states that the anticipated development timeline for the project is 10-12 years.

A 2012 site plan calls for dozens of new mid-rise and high-rise structures.  Office, hotel and community buildings are oriented towards the eastern side of the project site.  Residential buildings are oriented towards the corner of Owensmouth Boulevard and Vanowen Street.  The above image also indicates that the project includes a new park-and-ride garage for the Orange Line's Canoga Park Station.

Five million square feet of residential and office space is counterbalanced with almost 3.5 million square feet of parking.

5.6 acres of linear park space runs the length of the property.  The pedestrian connection to the river is a nice touch, although it will require the eventual redevelopment of the office park to the north of the project site.

In addition to central park, each block features its own internal green space.

In addition to BGI's grandiose plans, another game changing development recently broke ground across the street.  The $350 million Village at Westfield Topanga is targeting a Fall 2015 opening date, with the intention of creating an outdoor shopping environment that would rival Glendale's Americana at Brand.  Westfield may also pursue office and hotel towers as a later phase of the project.  A representative from BGI told the Daily News that the two developments should complement one another, helping to turn Warner Center into a true "live, work and play," community.  At the very least, both projects envision a less auto-dominated future for the neighborhood.  Truthfully, it's been surprising to see the relative lack of resistance to both developments.  It's not everyday that you see West Valley denizens embrace density, but perhaps the countless hours of wasted time on the 101 have finally taken their toll.  With these types of projects starting to pop up at both ends of the Orange Line busway, perhaps that much requested light rail conversion will happen sooner rather than later.


  1. This is a HUGE development, will definitely be a Boon to the entire Valley. Warner Center will be one of the most dynamic areas in LA. There's so much land in Warner Center for new development I wonder what will be planned at the Anthem Blue Cross Site and Westfield's Promemade mall site. Lots to be look forward too in this burgeoning Warner Center neighborhood.

  2. This is definitely one of those rare occasions where the term "game changer" actually applies. Of course, the market will ultimately decided what gets built here, and when.