Westwood is a district in western Los Angeles, California, not to be confused with Westwood, California. Westwood is best known as the home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The eastern portions of the district are often thought of as a distinctly different neighborhood, Holmby Hills. Westwood was carved from the old Wolfskill Farm, a 3,000-plus-acre tract that was purchased in 1919 by wealthy retailer Arthur Letts. Letts’ son-in-law, Harold Janss, was vice president of Janss Investment Company, which developed the area and started advertising new homes in 1922.
Because there is a census-designated place (CDP) in Northern California’s Lassen County named Westwood, California, the United States Postal Service has declared that all mail addressed to the Westwood district of Los Angeles must be labeled “Los Angeles, CA” instead of “Westwood, CA”. In general, all districts of Los Angeles located south of the San Fernando Valley (with one or two exceptions) are addressed “Los Angeles, CA”.
About Westwood Village
Westwood Village is Los Angeles’ premiere village centre – centrally located in the heart of Los Angeles, serving the neighborhoods of Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Wilshire Corridor, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Santa Monica. This charming and unique area displays a rich history recognizable by its architecturally significant buildings, many of which were built in the 30’s and 40’s. Architectural styles include New Orleans Revival, American Colonial Revival, Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial Revival, Period Revival, Post-war Modern, French Regency, and Classical Revival.
Historic Westwood Village is being revitalized with a unique collection of retail offerings, galleries and restaurants that will cater to all of Los Angeles but most especially to its area residents.
Westwood Village enjoys its proximity to densely populated and wealthy communities with household incomes averaging $113,379 within a 3-mile radius.
Built in 1928, Westwood Village was conceived and built by the Janus family as a retail village. Its charming streets and architecture offer some of the finest environments for retailing in Los Angeles.
Many original tenants remain in the village, such as the single screen theatre’s and Stan’s Donuts which add to the allure of Westwood Village as a charming destination.
To impart new life or vigor. To bring again into activity and prominence. Revitalization. This is what Westwood Village is uniquely positioned to receive at this very moment.
As the word implies, Westwood Village was once a thriving cultural epicenter in a city known for its sprawl and microcosms. One of the few places in Los Angles, where it is even remotely reasonable to ditch the car and walk. And as such, in typical human fashion, everyone wanted a piece of a good thing.
John Wolfskill saw the potential when he purchased the then ?Rancho San Jose de Buenos Ayres? in 1884 for ten dollars an acre for farming. Then the University of California bought in at $1.32 Million for 375 acres. In the early 1920s, The Janss Investment Corp. announced they would develop ?one of the most unusual business districts in the United States.? Electing a Mediterranean architectural theme, Westwood Village was born. In came the church, the bank, the University, diverse restaurants, shops, and ultimately the world renowned Geffen Playhouse Theatre. The Village was vitalized and things were well.
But we are talking about revitalization, right? So what happened to this European-themed, walking microvillage as the big city grew? Well somewhere along the way, the vision for Westwood Village got clouded. The Village endured a string of youth-driven acts of violence. Foot traffic was rapidly outpaced by vehicular traffic. Character-based local businesses had to compete with the marketing dollars of large corporate chains. And even the local community became divided into factions who spent more time infighting than focusing on the task they were all charted to protect?the integrity and best interest of the Village itself.
But again, back to the good news. Revitalization. The Village has seen the ebbs and flows any significant community can expect, and is poised to make some changes and enjoy a massive resurgence. The question now is only this: who will be along for the ride? The LAPD has reported several years of decreased crime and vandalism, landowners are rebuilding properties and taking the opportunity to re-outfit their previous tenants the likes of McDonalds, in favor of sidewalk cafes. The UCLA students are using The Village in fewer numbers than before, opening the doors back to the surrounding adults. A return to the roots? A Renaissance revival of sorts?
And what could be better than a bunch of visionaries targeting the revitalization of a community where a single-family residence costs more than the entire city did a century ago? Clearly, a bunch of visionaries backed by developers with hundreds of millions of dollars in capital to execute on that vision. Developers like the Alan Kasden, Kam Heckmat and the Topa Management Company fit this description, and are committed to bringing the revitalization of The Westwood Village to bear.
It is time to refocus the attention back to the adults. A classy hotel, a few new restaurants, a world class art gallery, abundant parking and a return to the pleasantries of the European marketplace on which it was founded, and Westwood Village will be competing with the Old Towns, Melrose and Montana Avenues, Main Streets and Robertson Boulevards that have stolen away the foot traffic that more regularly frequented the businesses here. There are only a handful of places in Los Angeles that can offer this potential to new business, residents, and visitors alike. And even fewer with reasonable rents.
Though not quite as ripe as getting in on ?Rancho San Jose de Buenos Ayres? for ten dollars an acre, Westwood Village presents a truly unique opportunity to get involved in a project that is slated for major change and development without looking to the suburbs to try and guess just how far we can develop (or sprawl) the ?Greater Los Angeles Area.?