On a prime parcel in Los Angeles’ Westside area, a trio of developers showed how to bring together mixed-use components to give the feeling of a “downtown” core in a place where it was missing.

Architects at Johnson Fain designed the layout for Phase 1 of Runway at Playa Vista with landscaped spaces—some functional, with lounges, fire pits, and water features, and others with buildings for retail, offices, restaurants, and parking.

There’s also housing for professional millennials who like living in an area dubbed “Silicon Beach” because of the ocean one and a half miles away and proximity to high-tech companies.

A large parking structure separates the two anchors—a Whole Foods grocery in one and a CVS/Pharmacy and movie complex in the other. Nearby, other structures house three floors of residential units as well as townhouses, offering a sense of intimacy within the whole.

What may be most novel at Runway is the plan’s horizontal and vertical elements, says Scott Johnson, FAIA at Johnson Fain. The plan consists of a T-shaped Main Street with retail anchors at the extremities and in-line shops between.

“Vertically, active public-accessible uses at street level enliven the ground plane, while private residences and exclusive amenities occupy areas above. The key to success in urban mixed-use projects is calibrating the public, semi-public, and private places,” he says.

There’s also a 100-foot-high kinetic art installation that ripples when it’s windy and helps camouflage the parking structure. Murals add scale, color, and variety to pedestrians’ visual experiences.

Because many in the resident pool are tech savvy, social media is used to schedule online tours, rent payments, maintenance requests, deliveries, and more. Sustainability also played a role.

The building met California Green Building Standards Code requirements with recycled water for irrigation and solar-ready roofs. The project’s estimated cost was $190 million.