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USC's proposed 'Village' expansion project is delayed again

September 18, 2012 |  6:30 pm

USC village

Concerns over low-income families who might be displaced has again delayed USC's proposed $1.1-billion expansion project designed to bring new retail and student housing to the neighborhood north of the campus.

City officials were given a raft of new data to help them decide whether they should approve The Village at USC. But members of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee said Tuesday that  they needed more time to absorb new information about the housing units most likely to become less affordable as USC expands.

The project would replace the aging University Village shopping center and would bring 350,000 square feet of retail, including a grocery store, restaurants and shops, and at least 1,200 dormitory beds. USC officials say it would also create 12,000 jobs, 8,000 of them permanent.

Anti-poverty advocates worry the upgrade will push out poor families who live in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the campus in South L.A. USC and city officials have been negotiating in private over how much money the university should place into a trust fund to help offset those losses.

Those talks are not yet concluded, city and USC officials said.

Jim Baiseri, a longtime resident, told the committee that the project includes many benefits for the local community and that the committee should move it forward.

"USC is a strong economic engine in L.A., and we need to do everything we can to support them,'' he said.

Paulina Gonzalez of Strategic Action for a Just Economy urged committee members to give the negotiating team time to do its work.

"Too much is at stake, we must do it right,'' she said.

The committee agreed to review the project again in November.


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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: The University Village food court would be replaced in the proposed project. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times