UV Renovation Plans Progress After Public Hearing
UDATED | OCT. 11, 11:30 A.M. PST: The Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee held its third public hearing on the renovation of USC's University Village Wednesday afternoon. The Village at USC would also include new student residencies.
Officials discussed the development of the proposed "The Village" project, a 350,000 square foot newly renovated shopping center on the land owned by USC. The $1 billion redevelopment project has been billed as the largest in South Los Angeles' history.
The City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved environmental findings, a negotiated package of community benefits as well as planning documents for redevelopment.
The agreement requires USC to contribute $20 million toward affordable housing in the area and to provide at least 3,000 new beds for students. It also bars the university from demolishing any student housing until all of the new units have been built.
USC originally committed $2 million for affordable housing, but a group of housing activists convinced city officials to push the university to provide more. Housing activists said they feared the development would reduce an already small affordable housing market which is threatened by the growing student population.
In the agreement, USC also committed to ensure that at least 30 percent of the workers would be local and 10 percent would be from backgrounds in construction.
USC officials also agreed for at least 15 percent of its materials to come from local vendors and to contract quotas for minority and women-owned contractors during the construction phase.
The full 15-member city council must now give its approval for the project to continue moving forward.
Renovation of the University Village was delayed earlier in the week after concerns continued to grow over low-income families potentially being displaced by the proposed $1.1 billion expansion project.
The renovation of the University Village would include new retail projects such as a grocery store, sit-down restaurants, a food court, shops and other services. The project would create an estimated 8,900 new jobs, according to a statement by the University.
Officials hope to accomplish all of the above without having to use public land, subsidies or funds.
Representatives of both USC and the community who attended Wednesday's hearing include Thomas Sayles, Senior Vice President of University Relations David Galaviz, the executive director of local government relations and Cesar Armendariz, the director of USC's community partnerships.
United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) of Los Angeles also attended the hearing, according to the group's Facebook page. The group has been vocal in its concerns that USC's new plan will devastate local jobs, housing developments and small businesses.