Demolition begins for Canoga Park’s premier rocket plant

The plant at 8900 De Soto Avenue
The plant at 8900 De Soto Avenue

Demolition has begun for Canoga Park’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power plant, a 43-acre rocket manufacturing site that will now make way for a $3 billion “sustainable urban neighborhood.”

The 61-year-old plant is steeped in history. Its facilities created military airplanes in World War II and built rocket engines for the programs that launched Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Scientists built the F-1 rocket engine, which powered the first stage of the Saturn V, on the site.

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“Another bit of Valley history bites the dust,” local history expert Martin Cooper told the Daily News. “That facility was one of several hubs in the Valley that took us from creating military airplanes in World War II, to commercial planes afterward, to rocketry and space travel.

To be part of the massive Warner Center community, the development to rise in its place is owned by United Technologies. Once complete, it will include 4,000 residential units.

But before construction can start, the new property owner is responsible for a massive environmental cleanup of asbestos, soil and contaminated concrete. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen