USC Kicks Off Community-Minded Expansion

LOS ANGELES — Nearly three years after the project was initially approved, the University of Southern California has officially broken ground on an expansive redesign of the USC Village. The 1.25 million-square-foot redevelopment project will add new residential areas and more than 100,000 square feet of commercial space.

“In the past four years, we have been privileged to break ground on a number of new projects at USC. But this village is an especially historic moment for USC, for our neighborhood and for Los Angeles as a whole,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said at the groundbreaking ceremony held Sept. 15.

Upon completion, the new USC Village will include a total of nine buildings, all designed in the university’s Collegiate Gothic architectural style. Residential areas will create added living space for approximately 2,700 Trojans, and will be contained to a series of five-story halls, increasing university-owned housing by almost 40 percent. This will put more students back on campus, opening up off-campus housing for community residents and decreasing traffic congestion.

The much-anticipated development, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2017, will also include a number of retail outlets. Students and community members will enjoy new indoor and outdoor dining options, a full service grocery store, fitness center and other commercial spaces, as well as expanded parking. A central plaza, tree-lined walkway and fountain will enhance the development’s curb appeal and offer space for outdoor events.

At $650 million, the USC Village project is the school’s largest to date, and is expected to spur an estimated $1 billion in construction-related economic activity. This will include approximately 4,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent positions. A pledge to hire at least 30 percent of the project’s workforce from within a five-mile radius of the campus has helped the redevelopment gain broad community support.

Additionally, the university will not use any public subsidies or taxpayer dollars to support construction, and has instead committed $20 million to a fund dedicated to creating and maintaining affordable housing in the local community. USC will also improve infrastructure surrounding the project, including upgrades to adjacent streets and the construction of a new fire station, work on which began in February 2014. Together, these community improvement projects have an estimated value of more than $40 million, according to the USC News.
The USC Village was designed by architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux of Los Angeles, and will be built by Hathaway Dinwiddie, headquartered in San Francisco. A video describing the project in further detailed can be viewed here.