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USC campus area to get $1 billion facelift

March 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
After years of wrangling, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, University of Southern California and developers have announced a $1 billion project to revamp the area around the campus.

It is a new start for University Village and for the surrounding community. The city and USC have signed off on a redevelopment plan that will eventually create a mixed-use community of housing and shops. This has students excited.

"That sounds great. These buildings are really old, there's a lot of empty business, it needs a lot of work," said USC student Jessica Hay.

Fellow student Richard Goldlander said he thinks the new development will bring much-needed jobs for the area as well.

The old shopping center was built in the 1960s, and it shows. It's run down and stores are empty. Longtime residents admit it's time for a change.

"I'm really surprised that it's really taken this long, because if you look on campus, there's development all over campus, and it really breathes new life into an area and I think that's great," said Melisa Carson, a South Los Angeles resident.

As rundown as the center is, there were concerns about redevelopment. Low-income residents in the area were worried that rents would go up. These are concerns that the school and the city are trying to address.

"The benefits that have been negotiated including the affordable housing, the jobs, the student beds that are going to be built, all of that will benefit not only students in the university, but community residents as well," said Paulina Gonzalez, a community activist.

While housing will be important, the city also desperately needs jobs.

USC spokesperson Christina Elizabeth says 9,000 jobs will be added with this project, with 30 percent geared toward the local economy.

After years of legal wrangling and concessions by the school to the city, USC is finally moving forward on a project almost everyone agrees will mean a fresh start.

Work on the USC Village could start within a year and be completed in two to three years.


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