A hotly disputed multibillion-dollar construction project on a vast expanse of open land not far from Los Angeles International Airport is beginning to look like a fait accompli. Within a stone’s throw of the spot where hunger strikers over the past decade have protested plans to build on the 1,087-acre site, dozens of giant earthmovers are now carving out paths destined to become paved roads.

Eventually, those roads will connect a complex of office buildings, residential neighborhoods and — perhaps — L.A.’s first newly constructed movie studio in more than 60 years. For now, the developer is touting the future of the huge Playa Vista real estate project on signs that are posted every few hundred yards along the main thoroughfare running through the property. The signs announce a summer 2000 grand opening for the first phase of the project.