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$500M to Start

Los Angeles
$500M to Start

Fight On is the official fight song of USC, and though it didn'tget the Trojans into March Madness, it may have helped Harley Ellis Devereaux pull out a big victory: The Village at USC, mixed-use project comprising some $500M worth of development in Phase 1.


Yesterday, we chatted with president Peter Devereaux (whom we snapped with Roy Reel and Daniel Gehman). A number of design firms pursued The Village because of its size and because"it's a great opportunity to extend the USC campus." Peter points to similar developments around the country as universities try to expand their housing-related community services to help invigorate the neighborhoods. The $1Bdevelopment encompasses more than 30 acres north of Jefferson Blvd. (So all you alums will barely recognize your old pranking stomping grounds.) The firm currently is working on the site plan and massing concept for the first phase: 14 acres bounded by Hoover, McClintock, and 30th Street. The project contemplates$1B and Phase1 will be roughly half of that.

USC Village2

The site is near top left in thismaster plan. Phase 1 will have undergrad and graduate student housing, a new grocery store and other retail and restaurants to serve students, faculty, staff, and local residents. Phase 2 will be "more of the same." The undergrad housing will add three residential colleges to the university's housing mix, which is "a bit of a change for USC." According to Peter, it'smore along the model of Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard where the students eat in a dining hall together, and have academic and social activities organized around their grouping in a residential complex. "It creates a strong bond" that's quite different from dorm housing. (Wait, isn't that what Fraternity Row is for?)


There'll be a new twist to thegraduate housing, as well--taller than the residential colleges with ground-floor retail. Peter says they're a couple of weeks away from knowing whether any of it will be high-rise, but the university wants this to be part of the fabric of the university's new Collegiate Gothic architectural style. "A high-rise building in the City of LA still requires a heliport, and visually, a heliport on top of a Gothic building doesn't make much sense." (Though, DaVinci did draw up plans for a helicopter.) In addition, he says the project canhave six levels over a podium and be under the City's high-rise regs, and still get all the density it needs.

Annenberg Exterior

Speaking of Collegiate Gothic, Bernards isunder construction onthe HED-designed Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The 85k SF facility will be the new home for USC's radio and television studios as well asclassrooms. Peter says this is one of the first new buildings at USC to break away from the campus' traditional Italian Romanesque architecture.