USC's billion-dollar redevelopment plan draws a lot of mixed feelings

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If USC’s proposed $1 billion redevelopment of the Figueroa Corridor is approved, it could be one of Los Angeles' largest redevelopment projects in a decade. The enterprise is just one part of a 30-year plan by the university to expand.

During a planning committee meeting, USC’s Tom Sayles presented his case for the project. The school’s Vice President for Government and Community Relations pledged that the plan will create jobs and student housing without expanding campus boundaries.

“This project is being done entirely on land that’s owned by USC," said Sayles. "We’re not acquiring one foot of new property. This is essentially a remodeling project — it’s something we own, that we want to make better. As a result of this project, by building the housing on campus, we’re going to free up housing in the community.”

Critics of the plan, including local nonprofits and low-income neighbors, say USC’s plans will barely address existing demand for student housing. They say that limited, increasingly expensive housing stock in the area near USC has pitted students and long-term residents against one another.

In its latest version of the plan, USC has agreed to increase its contributions to local affordable housing initiatives from $2 million to $8 million.

The university’s also vowed to include provisions for local hiring and job training.

The L.A. City Council Planning Land Use Management Committee expects to issue its final recommendations on the USC development plan in the next few weeks.

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