After years of delays, long awaited plans to add hundreds of residential units to Westchester's Howard Hughes Center are finally moving forward.  Earlier this year, ground was broken on a new apartment complex, located on a formerly vacant lot at 6040 Center Drive.  Rising six stories, the building will contain 218 apartment dwellings above two levels of underground parking.  Permit filings from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety indicate that a second six-story residential complex is also planned across the street at 5900 Center Drive.  That building would be slightly larger in scale, consisting of 327 apartments in addition to underground parking accommodations.  Both residential structures would lie within walking distance of the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, a two-level outdoor mall anchored by a luxury theater outpost.

Less clear at this point in time are the exact plans for the Howard Hughes Centers' other vacant parcels.  Located at 5901 and 6055 Center Drive, an earlier proposal from developer Equity Office Properties called for an office building and a high-rise condo tower, both designed by Gensler.  That proposal drew the ire of several neighbors in the nearby Westchester Bluffs in 2008, who argued that an expansion of the Howard Hughes Center would increase traffic congestion and obstruct their northern views.

One resident even went so far as to describe her neighborhood as "an oasis surrounded by development."  Hyperbole aside, her comments are still indicative of the rapid changes currently underway in the surrounding environs, which the Los Angeles Times has dubbed "the Lower Westside."  After spending decades as sleepy bedroom communities, neighborhoods such as Westchester and Playa Vista are experiencing dramatically increased employment density (thanks, Silicon Beach!).  With the resumption of development activity on the sprawling Playa Vista campus, an assortment of office, residential and retail projects are slated to open nearby during the next several years.