IMAX breaks ground on West Coast HQ in Playa Vista

Published by KPCC

IMAX is moving its west coast headquarters down the coast of Silicon Beach.

The big-screen entertainment technology company broke ground Thursday on a 66,000 square foot office building in Playa Vista's commercial campus. The building is expected to take one year to complete.

IMAX currently has 120 employees working in a Santa Monica office. But IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster says the company is just a tenant there. It will own the Playa Vista facility, creating a shareholder asset. Plus, over in Santa Monica, there's a a potentially noisy neighbor coming in.

"The new Expo Line is coming literally right into the back yard of the building we’re in," Foster told KPCC. "We do a lot of production work, a lot of sound work, and from a practical point of view, with the noise it wasn’t really possible."

"IMAX is known for big things - such as their big cameras and screens- and I wish them big success here in the entertainment and creative capitol of the world," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

So, is Los Angeles stealing a major entertainment brand away from Santa Monica? Garcetti wouldn’t go there.

"You know, we have a regional economy so I always look at anything in the Southland as a victory," Garcetti told KPCC.

He would say that his city’s departments are moving faster than ever to approve moves like IMAX's to make Los Angeles more business friendly.

"We broke ground on something downtown - the Metropolis Project - four months after they brought that to us, when the average used to be two years," Garcetti said. "This project, too, went from inception to the groundbreaking today in a mater of eight or nine months and that was mostly driven by their design needs, not the city standing in their way. "

IMAX says the new building should be done in a year.