The Culver City Chamber of Commerce has had a hand in the economics of Culver City for close to century, and the 2019 Economic Outlook event at One Culver on May 9, 2019 was a powerful and thoughtful look at the milestones for business, development and the driving factors of growth.
Hosted by Chamber President Colin Diaz, the spacious lobby at One Culver was filled with Chamber members and guests. After a buffet lunch, the gathering listened to a keynote speech by Dr. Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics. Taking a very broad perspective, he began by reaching back to declare that “the Great Recession began in December of 2007,” and that the factors commonly held to blame, such as sub prime loans, were part of a wider network of issues responsible for the global crisis.
Noting that “80% of Culver City’s revenues come from business, and 80% of the city’s expenditures go to residents” Thornberg held that the current boom was one that would be very beneficial for residents. Noting that the housing shortage was the challenge that needed to be solved, he said “The only economic development that Culver City needs right now is roofs, roofs, roofs.”
When Sol Blumenfeld took the stage, Culver City’s Director of Community Development took the moment to be both modest and proud. He offered the list of developments that had come into being under his watch in the last decade, from the affordable housing focus of Tilden Terrace to the international corporate headquarters space at Culver City Stairs and Ivy Station. “I can’t and I won’t take credit for all of this,” Blumenfeld stated, ” A lot of this is really just being in the right place at the right time.” Showcasing the Transit Oriented District around the Expo Station that reaches from the Arts District in the east to the Hayden Tract and Downton Culver City, he noted that all of this development will only be optimized by continuing changes in transportation.
Albert Chang, the COO of Amazon Studios, offered his excitement about moving into the city that was responsible for such milestones in movie history as Gone With the Wind, and “the home of Desilu, where the television of the golden age was shaped and defined.” Chang presented his enthusiasm with a measured tone, saying, “We will be creating international content in eight languages, ” and that Amazon would be taking up the mantle of ground breaking media center.
Dr. John Jenrette, Executive Vice-President of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, spoke about the success of the clinics that have served Culver City for the last several years, “putting health care into the easy reach of residents, having help available where help is needed.”
Virtual Reality visionary and Head of Legal Affairs for Dreamscape, Tammy Brandt closed the gathering with a few remarks about how evolving media offers constant access to the frontier of storytelling and experience. “If you have used VR, then you have had that experience of looking into another world, of stepping into another reality.”
If there were a picture, anywhere in the mind of one of the business leaders and residents attending, of what Culver City looked like 20 years ago, another reality has evolved.
Photo – Thornberg looks to statistics at 2019 Economic Outlook