Looking  Back… with Julie Lugo Cerra Fox Hills connection with Culver City dates to ‘60s

WAY BACK WHEN…An aerial view shows Fox Hills before it was annexed to Culver City in 1964 and the land developed. Photo courtesy of Julie Lugo Cerra

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Fox Hills was a 1964 annexation to the City of Culver City. The area’s immediate prior history showed it as 330 acres in the County of Los Angeles.

In 1964, the Fox Hills offered beautiful open space, mostly recreational facilities. It abutted Sepulveda Blvd. where Red Riding Stables and a go-cart track, (annexed in 1962) were operating. Over the hill, next to Slauson Avenue, there were two golf courses, Baldwin Hills Golf Course and Fox Hills Golf Course. Locals who attended Culver High remember going to a prom at the Fox Hills Country Club in the early ‘60s. The area also included some industrial structures and Hillside Memorial Park, (purchased in 1941).

The property in Fox Hills became so valuable that the owner of the bulk of the property, Home Savings and Loan, made a business decision to close the golf courses and develop the land. And developed it was, after being annexed to the City of Culver City.

Fox Hills, like Culver Crest, opted for annexation to our city for a very pragmatic reason — sewer. Early construction was in the form of housing. Then, after the Culver City Redevelopment Agency was established in 1971, the neighborhood boasted the site of the first major redevelopment project in the city, the Fox Hills Mall, (now a Westfield Shoppingtown).

The mall opened in the fall of 1975. The mall’s sales tax has traditionally been a revenue stream. Typical of Culver City’s concern for recreational facilities, Fox Hills Park became part of the plan. The golf courses vanished along with the Sunset Bar, (a biker hangout), just above the “cougars” public art installation on Slauson and a barn which was often rented for parties. The proximity to LAX made it a good location for hotels too.

 

Construction

In a back-to-back escrow, with the state of California, the title being transferred immediately to the developer, a 32-acre parcel sold for $29,580,000 to become the Corporate Pointe development. This land had originally been intended for the extension of what is now the Marina Freeway (originally the Nixon freeway). The constructed first tall buildings precipitated a building height concern by some local residents, and with the help of former Councilmember Richard Pachtman, they wrote a 56-foot height limit initiative. The committee collected signatures, it qualified to appear on the ballot, and the initiative was passed in April of 1990. That commercial property is still in the process of being developed. Some of the structures have housed offices, an off-campus site for Pepperdine University, and the local offices of some of our state legislators (Controller, Senate). Symantec has submitted plans to consolidate their operations and build out a new office center and research and development facility, which could bring up to 2,000 high tech jobs to the area. The Symantec Environmental Impact Report has begun going through the city process.

Although the city annexed Fox Hills in the 60s, because there were no residents, no thought was given to annexing the area into the local school district. In 1993, a group of Fox Hills residents, headed by Janey Campbell, and Brooke Mangum, with the support of Willie Turner and the Fox Hills Property Owners Assoc., pressed the Culver City Board of Education to allow students in that area to attend Culver City Schools. This was the third time Culver City asked the LA Unified Board of Education to release that land. It required de-annexation from LAUSD and subsequent annexation to Culver City Unified. The CCUSD was committed to making the city whole, so local officials at the time appeared before the LAUSD Board of Education. The board president at that time, who became your city historian, had the privilege of appearing with Culver City’s Mayor Mike Balkman, CCUSD Superintendent, Curt Rethmeyer and representatives from Fox Hills. The successful campaign was accomplished with the help of our County Supervisor, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.

Fox Hills has earned a very real part in Culver City history.

2018 Revised from original, JLC.

 

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