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History

Celebrating over 55 years of success

The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce is proud to be recognized as the "Voice of Business" for a unique area that has seen positive growth and development. We are the perfect blend of business and community!

What was once open-beach and undeveloped tracts of land is now a thriving community that features an international airport, world-class hotels, prestigious colleges, and an abundance of thriving local businesses.

Our service area includes the diverse regions of Westchester, a bedroom community that sprung up during the post-WWII aerospace industry; LAX, which houses the fifth busiest airport in the world; Playa Vista, the newest community in the area; Playa del Rey, one of the last true "beach communities," and Marina del Rey, a thriving business community famous for its pleasure craft harbor.

In its over 55 years, the Chamber and its members have actively initiated and supported the continued planned growth of these communities. As we move forward , we are committed to continuing to guide "well-thought out" growth.

The rich history of this area details the stories of people with dreams to develop these coastal areas into communities that would allow tourist and commercial trade to exist in harmony with its residential neighbors. This has created a true community!


Westchester & LAX

Among the early entrepreneurs was Fritz B. Burns, who made his first million before he was 30 and with the crash of the stock market, like many others, saw his fortune evaporate. A visionary man, Burns would go on to purchase, subdivide, and develop much of what is now Westchester and Playa del Rey and set a standard for developing quality residential communities in the booming pre- and post-WWII housing market.

Through his business and philanthropic work, Burns made possible the early development of Loyola University. Additionally, he guided the growth of the City of Los Angeles as it grew with the advent of the jet age and increased trade and commerce into a modern city.

Another visionary, Harry Culver, provided 100 acres in the Westchester Bluff area to what was to become Loyola Marymount University.

The Los Angeles International Airport was once the ranch property of the Bennett brothers, Frank, Andrew, and Tom. It was Andrew who leased the first 640 acres to the City of Los Angeles in 1928.That year the race was on to chose a site for the City and to establish a municipal airport. Voters rejected a bond issue to purchase the Bennett ranch and instead the City Council approved an ordinance to lease the land for 10 years. Despite the stock market crash in 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, the Los Angeles Municipal Airport was dedicated June 7, 1930 and the city renegotiated a 50-year lease extension. By 1941, it was renamed the Los Angeles Airport and later in 1951, it became the Los Angeles International (LAX), signifying its international status.

The early aerospace industry in Westchester can be traced to J.H. "Dutch" Kindelberger, a pioneer aircraft designer, who in 1934 relocated the east coast operations of North America to a 20-acre site located at Aviation Boulevard and Imperial Highway. The ranch property of the Bennett brothers would become the manufacturing home for Douglas Aircraft Co., Northrup Corp., and Airesearch Manufacturing.

Soon after this, housing development would follow and set a trend that would change the landscape of America. Congress approved the Lanham Act in 1940, authorizing the federal government to purchase land to build 700,000 units of housing in areas where war-related industries were located to facilitate the country's readiness in the face of imminent conflict. It also provided FHA funding to private homebuilders interested in building affordable housing for people employed in war-related industries. This measure would have a great impact on the development of Westchester as it allowed early homebuilders such as Burns, Silas Nowell, Bert Farrar, Frank Ayers, and Fred W. Marlow to build 3,232 homes by 1943.

The housing boom was matched only by the post-WWII years, when highly skilled GIs, returning home to the U.S., were eager to buy homes in areas near their places of work. This concept of creating communities near manufacturing centers would quickly catch on throughout the U.S.A as testament to this fact, Westchester has been selected by the National Building Museum as an example of a community that developed in the post-WWII housing boom and as part of the ethos of the American dream.

As a result of a burgeoning aerospace industry that supplied the government with aircraft during WWII, the emergence of a world class aviation center, and the housing boom that provided homes for the people who worked in these industries, Westchester attracted entrepreneurs interested in guiding and balancing this growth.

Ella L. Drollinger was one of these socially-conscious developers, and her son, Howard Drollinger, under H.B. Drollinger Co., continued this family tradition. Today, the H.B. Drollinger Co. is led by Karen Dial, Howard's daughter, who strives to meet the needs of the people who live, work, and play in Westchester.


Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey: A Nautical Paradise in West Los Angeles

Located 10 minutes north of Los Angeles International Airport, at the center of L.A.'s popular Westside, Marina del Rey's sparkling water and gentle breezes invite respite from the city's chaotic bustle. As one of the largest man-made pleasure craft harbors in the world, "the Marina:" offers stylish restaurants and chic hotels in a unique urban oasis, and almost unlimited on-the-water opportunities. The community is popular for regional weekend getaways, a perfect base for L.A.-bound leisure and business travelers, and as a convenient stay-over option for in-transit travelers through LAX.

Known as one of the most desirable communities to live on the Westside, Marina del Rey's waterfront is clustered with high-quality apartments and condominiums, most with water views. The community's freeway close and central location makes it easy to get to nearby Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills and Century City.

For visitors, there are more than 1,000 hotel rooms, and most offer panoramic harbor front rooms. Many of the community's 53 full-service restaurants are scattered along the harbor, providing great views and even greater sunsets. Restaurants here are known for extravagant weekend brunches and year-round outdoor dining.

As the center of recreational boating in Los Angeles, Marina del Rey is a great place for those who want to stroll along the waterfront and gaze at luxurious yachts and bobbing sailboats. But more than just looking at boats, this is one of the few places in L.A. where people can actually get out on the water. This casual enclave offers non-stop recreational boating opportunities, including boat rentals, private charters, dinner cruises, public fishing trips, cocktail cruises, yacht clubs and sailing associations.

Marina del Rey is home to a number of annual festivals, shows and parades, including the Holiday Boat Parade, Discover Marina del Rey Day and an ambitious summer outdoor concert series.


Playa Vista

Playa Vista is the first new community to be established on the Westside of Los Angeles in more than 50 years. The community features residential, commercial, retail and open space, creating a place to live, work, shop and play. Situated about a mile from the ocean, Playa Vista is nestled below the bluffs of Westchester, adjacent to the newly restored Ballona Freshwater Marsh and within easy reach of Santa Monica, Venice, Century City and LAX.

This vibrant new community balances critically needed housing, office space, neighborhood shopping, parks and habitat protection on Los Angeles' Westside. At Playa Vista, you will find a community that includes homes built for today's lifestyles by many of the nation's leading builders. This diverse collection of residences includes detached single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and urban-style lofts—all with state-of-the-art amenities.

Playa Vista is more than a new place to live. It is a new community that has the charm and spirit of a small town woven into the heart of the big city. And it offers residents all of the conveniences of the digital world with a down-home lifestyle where you don't have to drive to take a nice walk, and where you don't need a town meeting to get to know your neighbors.

Playa Vista is also a good neighbor working to improve the surrounding areas and boost the regional economy. Programs like PVJOBS, the Playa Vista Educational Trust, and the "Playa Vista Presents" arts program benefit the community by creating quality jobs, funding for local schools, and cultural events for residents and neighbors.

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