Silicon Beach Office Wars: Amazon, Apple and L.A.'s Real Estate Maneuvers

6:00 AM 11/1/2018

by Peter Kiefer

Facebook, Snapchat and several new entrants are jockeying for Hollywood-adjacent position with flashy digs.

The term “Silicon Beach” has been bandied about for decades but only in the last 10 years has it taken root to clearly connote the cluster of startups and larger tech companies in beach communities — namely Venice, Santa Monica and now Playa Vista — and a few communities directly adjacent to them where techies have been prone to congregate. But like any beach, the sands are constantly shifting and in the past few years we have seen some significant hopscotching.

Here is a quick look at where a few of the major names in L.A.’s media-tech scene are holding down their respective forts. 

  • Riot Games

    12333 West Olympic Blvd.

    Courtesy of Riot Games

    The video game developer (League of Legends) is five years into a 15-year lease for its 284,000-square-foot West L.A. campus, which the company moved into from Santa Monica. The property boasts a giant outdoor chess set, Bilgewater Brew bar and basketball court.

    Old digs: 2150 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica

  • Google

    5865 Campus Center Drive, Playa Vista

    Courtesy of Google

    Since 2011, it called the Frank Gehry-designed Binoculars building in Venice home — until this month, when it moved into Playa Vista's 525,000-square-foot Spruce Goose hangar. "People love to work where Howard Hughes once innovated," says developer Brookfield Residential's Alison Girard.

    Old digs: 340 Main St., Venice

  • Snapchat

    2772 Donald Douglas Loop N., Santa Monica

    For years, Snap was the corporate bogeyman for Venice Beach's old guard. The harassment paid off. In February, Snap abandoned more than half of its once-extensive presence along the Venice boardwalk, now residing in 300,000 square feet at a Santa Monica business park near the airport. Its commissary is a former Carrows in the parking lot.

    Old digs: 523 Ocean Front Walk, Venice

  • Amazon

    Culver Steps at Culver & Washington

    Courtesy of EYRC Architects

    Not to be outdone in its arms race with Apple to gobble up as much space as possible in Culver City, Amazon Studios announced in March that it would take over Culver Studios and lease 75,000 square feet at Culver Steps, to be completed in 2019. Total footprint? 350,000 square feet.

    Old digs: 1620 26th St., Santa Monica

  • Apple

    8777 Washington Blvd.

    The Cupertino giant — in the midst of a billion-dollar push into original programming — announced in January that it will lease all of a four-story, 128,000-square-foot building in Culver City, which HBO was rumored to be eyeing. With a move-in date expected in late 2019, the new space adds to Apple Music and Beats Electronics HQs at nearby Hayden Tract.

    Old digs: 8600 Hayden Place

  • Facebook

    12777 W. Jefferson Blvd.

    In 2016, the social media giant expanded in Playa Vista when it took over a neighboring 35,000-square-foot Gensler-designed office with two studio spaces designed for live-streaming and 360-degree video.

    Old digs: 12035 Waterfront Drive

    This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.