Wetland restoration near D'Works site begins

After endless court battles and permit hassles, restoration of the wetlands near what could become the future DreamWorks studio is again under way.

Last week, trucks began moving loads of dirt from Malibu onto the Playa Vista site near Marina del Rey to help create a storm drain system that will serve as a source of water for a proposed freshwater marsh.

But, after enduring uncertainties about financing for the Playa Vista development, there is still no guarantee that DreamWorks will make its home there, despite the presence of Howard Hughes’ vast hangars. The studio’s 1,500-strong staff is spread around town in various offices and on the Universal Studios lot. DreamWorks recently completed an animation facility in Glendale.

Peter Denniston, president of the Playa Vista development, insisted that the project is now “fully financed” and that his planners had obtained “all needed permits for the initial stages of construction.”

“We are now able to move forward with the preparatory work needed to create a freshwater marsh which will provide vastly improved habitat for a host of endangered and other native species,” Denniston said. The fate of the species – and the restoration of what remains of the wetlands to the west of the former aircraft plant – had been the primary concerns of environmentalists who repeatedly blocked progress on the project.

DreamWorks may yet be the main tenant of the proposed entertainment, media and technology district, which would incorporate some of the remaining Hughes hangars. Other projects planned for the 1,087-acre site include housing, a commercial complex and a marina.

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