The Village at USC: The Largest Private Investment in the History of South Los Angeles

About 30 community leaders gathered last Thursday evening at Exposition Park to see USC’s Master Plan for The Village at USC (District 3), which promises new jobs, more housing, and new services for students and the community.


District 3 currently encompasses the University Village along Jefferson and Hoover, and the Cardinal Gardens and Century student housing. Kristina Raspe, USC-Vice President for Real Estate and Asset Management, presented the floor plans for the Village and discussed how the new development would impact the community.

The new Village, which is set to start construction in May 2013, will take 6 to 10 years to complete. It requires three million square feet of redevelopment and will be completely funded by the university. Developers estimate that once completed the University at USC will bring in $1.7 million in revenue to the City of Los Angeles.


According to Raspe, USC’s focus is to make the Village as permeable as possible to not only students, but to locals as well. The Village will include a hotel and conference center, a large town square, lots of green space, and wide walkways for easy accessibility. The university plans to use these areas for entertainment, farmers markets, and many other community events.

The ground floor of the Village will include retail, grocery stores, restaurants, and other services. “The restaurants won’t be high-end restaurants, but sit-down restaurants like Chili’s and California Pizza Kitchen,” said Raspe.

In addition to budget friendly restaurants, the university wants to bring in retailers, like H&M and Trader Joe’s, that “have not naturally come to this neighborhood,” said Raspe.


“The big bang is 12,000 new jobs,” said Raspe. “We are really proud of the number of jobs we are able to create.” Raspe estimates that the project will help create 8,000 construction related jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. The USC Local Hiring Initiative will ensure that about 30% of those jobs will go to the residents of South Los Angeles.

The upper floors of the Village will be dedicated to student housing. Currently, USC students live in the neighborhoods surrounding USC, which has displaced many of the locals out of the area. USC plans to provide housing for nearly 5,200 students and 250 faculty/student family apartments. The new housing will return more than 900 housing units that were previously occupied by students to the community.

Overall, the project’s goal is to partner with the surrounding neighborhoods to create a safe and vibrant place for the entire community. “We want to strengthen those roots with South LA,” said David Galaviz, Executive Director for USC Local Government Relations. “We are definitely open to suggestions.”



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