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USC has ambitious plans for its own college town

July 3, 2010 | 12:24 pm

Proposed USC Village

USC says it wants what many other big-city universities have: an attractive, lively place next to its campus for students and faculty to shop, dine, watch movies and just hang out.

In what is described as the most ambitious construction project in South Los Angeles in a generation, the university plans to replace an outdated shopping center with a retail, cinema and hotel complex that would also include dorms for about 5,000 students.

The $900-million project, just across West Jefferson Boulevard from USC's traditional northern boundary, is aimed partly at relieving pressure on private housing in the neighborhood, which has led to displacement of low-income families and conflicts over parking and student parties.

Many neighbors say they would welcome the proposed housing and improved shopping venues but worry that the new retail could be too upscale for the area. Many also are concerned about increased traffic on the narrow side streets of North University Park. And some landlords who cater to USC students say they fear the change will harm their often lucrative rental businesses.

Kristina Raspe, USC's associate senior vice president for real estate, described the planned 35-acre USC Village, just north of Jefferson and west of South Hoover Street, as "a transformational project."

Read the full story here.

--Larry Gordon

Image: Rendering of proposed USC Village Credit: Elkus Manfredi Architects