New village to provide more housing

The Village will aim to provide more affordable housing options to students, university officials said Wednesday.

Housing · As part of the plans for The Village at USC, Cardinal Gardens, Century Apartments and La Sarbonne Apartments will be torn down and replaced in part with about 5,400 beds for USC students. - Photo courtesy of The Village at USC

Kristina Raspe, vice president of real estate and asset management, said at the Master Plan Forum hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government that The Village would feature many additional university-owned student housing units to avoid the displacement of residents in the neighborhoods surrounding USC.

Alternative housing choices will also prevent students from paying high rent to third-party renters in the area, according to Raspe.

“We’ve had a lot of comments from our neighbors that our students have overrun the neighborhood and unfortunately caused the displacement of a lot of long-term residents,” Raspe said. “So, the goal of this project is to reverse that pattern and to start bringing students back to university-owned land.”

Though The Village will replace Cardinal Gardens, Century Apartments and La Sarbonne Apartments, which together have a total of 3,211 beds, plans estimate adding about 5,400 beds.

“This student housing would be affordable and appropriate for students,” Raspe said. “A lot of our students are living in substandard housing that they’ve leased from third-party owners that don’t necessarily have [students’] best interest in mind.”

Samantha Ma, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, said she would only consider living at The Village because of its proximity to campus.

“The only reason why I might want to live [there] is because of the convenience and how close I would be to everything,” Ma said.

Isabella Urrea, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said off-campus housing tends to be cheaper.

“USC housing is overpriced and charges way to much money for everything,” Urrea said. “Being guaranteed four years of housing wouldn’t affect me because I chose to leave USC housing because rent [for off campus housing] is cheap and there are good locations.”

Raspe also said one of the many goals of the master plan is to build and sustain the new University Village in an environmentally friendly way by achieving LEED’s gold standard.

“We’re really doing a lot of work on the site to help in order to achieve a gold standard neighborhood development,” Raspe said. “We’re looking at geothermal [and] photovoltaic [energy], as well as collecting rainwater and creating natural plant systems.”

Some students, however, said they were disappointed the project would not immediately impact them.

“Even though all the changes that they’ll be making to the UV sound great, I’m angry that they won’t be happening sooner,” said Reagan Rose, a freshman majoring in mathematics. “Nearly everyone at USC right now won’t even be able to take advantage of the development because the construction will be happening so far away.”

Though the original estimated start of construction was Jan. 2012, it was recently changed to sometime between May 2013 to the end of 2013, according to Raspe.

5 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    It’s a free market economy, not sure why you people think USC controlling all major housing developments is a good idea. Or why it will result in cheaper rent for everyone without a drop in quality. You dont want to pay $1000/month for a shared apartment, dont live in gateway luxury housing Competition = more choices, prices reflect market value

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    Sarah: Those two buildings would be extremely pricey to buy. West 27th place just sold to a New York investment firm for rumored to be around ~$60 million, and Gateway would be much more to buy, considering it cost more than the Galen center to build. It’s much cheaper for USC to build their own housing. There are a lot of pro’s to this plan: first there will be more housing, a better UV will be created with more student options.

    Tanya: USC really didn’t make the building possible. The last was given to a developer by the same person who owns all the car dealerships north on Figueroa. They just moved all the dealerships closer to Downtown and then a corporation came in to build the property, with USC’s blessing, but it would have gone ahead even without USC.

    Overall, its really supply and demand. The more student housing available the cheaper prices will become. Since Gateway opened prices have not climbed at the rate they once were.

    More housing = cheaper rent and more competition for better units. It’s slowly changing. The housing is much better now than it was 6 years ago.

  3. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    USC should really buy the recently completed “high-end” MID-RISE housing, University Gateway and West 27th Place. These two developments are literally right across the street from campus and they charge us a huge amount of money to rent. Management here is extremely poor! If USC intervenes, the school can cheapen the rent, which will allow more students to afford to stay here! The rent per apartment can go up to $2000+, which is ridiculous.

    I also question this New Village development’s term of “affordable”. Many developers are using the same word, but once they complete their projects, they start charging students thousands to rent… as if we are celebrities!

    More than half of the students who attend USC are on financial aid. Please, cater to their needs in terms of a rent! Because local landlords, who do not care about us, are now competing with escalating rent prices! For instance, STUHO Student Housing (one of the neighborhood’s worst landlords, but swear their housing is “high-end”).

  4. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    Why not buy University Gateway and turn it into affordable student housing–USC made this building possible; why give developers USC students as renters, for free?

    Seems silly.

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