Students express mixed feelings about UV renovations

Since the Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved USC’s $1 billion plan for renovating the University Village on Oct. 10, students remain split on whether the project will be a positive addition to the surrounding community or a strain on university finances and residents who depend on the UV for retail services and jobs.

Neighbors · Though some students look forward to the renovations of the University Village, others say they are fond of the current complex. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily Trojan

The Village at USC, which plans to add restaurants, shops and 3,000 new spaces for students in university housing, is expected to receive final approval from the Los Angeles City Council in November. By May, all but two of the 45 independent tenants in the UV will be on month-to-month leases, and construction on the project could begin as early as this summer, according to USC’s Real Estate and Asset Management Department.

David Galaviz, executive director of local government relations, said that The Village at USC would benefit the school and the local community by providing more jobs for residents in the new development and retail spaces to be used by locals and students. He also said the project would spur economic development in the area.

Vanessa Sterrett, a junior majoring in economics, agreed with Galaviz, saying that the new housing and shopping opportunities the renovations will provide are a necessary addition to the university’s surrounding area.

“We are in need of housing closer to the campus, and if USC could provide that, we wouldn’t have to deal with the leasers that are sort of taking advantage of USC students right now,” Sterrett said. “If you look at other universities, a lot of them have a general university campus area right outside their main campus, and I think that that’s something USC has been lacking.”

Many students said they hope The Village at USC will include a wider variety of dining options, a grocery store, entertainment options such as movie theaters and bowling alleys and large discount stores like Target.

Several small business owners have recently voiced their concerns over the fate of their businesses at the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management meetings. An addendum that was added to the plan on Oct. 5 requires USC to negotiate with tenants and pursue good faith efforts to retain their businesses in the new Village.

Some business owners said at the meetings that the university has offered to provide an expert in relocating business to help them move during the construction process. The university has also agreed to a 30 percent local hiring goal for permanent University Village jobs.

Some students, like Orrin Barrow, a junior majoring in policy, planning and development, however, believe that these efforts are not enough to justify the displacement of several existing UV businesses during the construction process and the use of such a large amount of university funds.

“It’s nice in concept: They want to make this area more student-friendly and student-accessible. But in terms of their accommodation for the locals, I think it’s kind of poor, and I don’t believe it’s justified,” Barrow said. “The things they have there now are not up to date, but they do provide a central service in terms of groceries and other amenities for the locals. … It might be a necessity to add housing, but a billion-dollar project might be a bit much too. Housing doesn’t take a billion dollars.”

Jacob Flores, a junior majoring in philosophy, feels the funds that will be used to redevelop the University Village could be better spent on campus.

“If USC was actually about making things better for their students, they would renovate the housing that they already have, they would renovate the libraries and they would use money toward making classes more efficient,” Flores said.

17 replies
  1. North University Park
    North University Park says:

    USC must be proud that you are turning out such paragons of civility and refinement such as George,Gabriel and Tex.

    When confronted with unpleasant facts, kill the messenger.

  2. Tex
    Tex says:

    @ North University Park,

    You are a broken record lady. No one cares you have a DT article from 1999. The World is a completely different place today than it was in 1999. Get a life lady! No wonder your man left you!

    • North University Park
      North University Park says:

      When logic doesn’t work, try insults, the cheapest trick in the books.

      The 1999 DT article was reprinted from the archives just a few days ago. Someone at the DT must have thought it pertinent.

      No doubt the world has changed. What has not changed are the facts.

  3. North University Park
    North University Park says:

    Just a few days ago the DT published an 11 year old article from the archives. In that article University spokespersons denied that USC had any ulterior motives in purchasing the UV which was built with CRA redevelopment help, supposedly to benefit the community.

    The land for the UV was acquired by eminent domain.

      • North University Park
        North University Park says:

        Insults don’t quite make up for the fact that the gist of the DT article was ignored. Actually the archived article dates from 1999 which was 13 years ago. That means that USC has owned the UV for the past 13 years and if it is rundown who was the landlord?

        By giving only short term leases when they came up for renewal, USC’s true intent was telegraphed years ago.

        A shopping center that was acquired by eminent domain for community benefit now will benefit only the landlord, USC.

        • EastCoast Trojan
          EastCoast Trojan says:

          Only USC benefits? Wow. Your complaints about the 30 year old eminent domain acquisition (UV was built in the 70s) might carry more weight if your view wasn’t so myopic. Are you arguing that the UV should always stay as is? Doesn’t it make more sense to create an urban, pedestrian focused development with lots of student beds above and new retail below?

          Yes for 2 years of construction those current businesses will have to leave for the improvements to happen. And they may or may not come back to the UV. For that I have sympathy but not so much as to declare that the outdated UV should remain. It’s main face to the community is parking lots, for goodness sake! And the new jobs have a 30% local hiring requirement. This world doesn’t guarantee a lot to us, so that’s a pretty good deal for the COMMUNITY that needs jobs.

          The new Village will serve the community and the University better. It’s way past time to make a change and make progress here. I hope you support it and set aside whatever old resentments you have.

          • North University Park
            North University Park says:

            No, I don’t argue that there should never be a change. I do say that USC has not been honest and forthcoming since the 1999 DT article states that the university intended to upgrade and maintain the UV. Instead it let it fall into disrepair which made demolition and rebuilding more acceptable. The fact that the land was acquired by eminent domain for community benefit can not be overstated. It remains to be seen what community benefit will result from the makeover. I expect to see a fortress UV instead of a community welcoming UV. Only time will tell.

  4. Gabriel
    Gabriel says:

    Another dopey DT article about the UV. How about an article about the BCS and how we keep getting the short stick? Why not write an article about the lack of gender neutral restrooms at SC? Come on DT, write some interesting!

  5. Peter Wyche
    Peter Wyche says:

    Anyone who is against the UV renovation plan on the grounds expressed in this article is mentally deficient. I don’t understand why the Daily Trojan keeps running these articles. Just come out and say what everyone is thinking: the UV sucks, the new UV sounds awesome, and anyone who opposes its construction in order to save the shady UV businesses is putting complacency and acceptance of a decrepit status quo ahead of progress.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    It seems like a barely-different iteration of the same article comes out every week.

    They even follow roughly the same format:

    [Background on the renovations]

    [Reasons why the new UV provides more jobs, housing, small business opportunities. The g-word, “gentrification,” is never mentioned, even if it’s both appropriate and not necessarily a bad thing.]

    [Out of touch student giving reasons why the currently decrepit UV should be left alone, despite the fact that USC has made its intentions to renovate clear for over a decade]

    [Closing statement]

    City Council’s going to give the final approval. The new UV will be built. In four years we’ll probably get a retrospective article on current tenants and where they are now.

  7. Don
    Don says:

    I am “Fond” of some ex-girlfriends but you have to move on and live for today and the future. I understand change can be harder for some–but again, the new UV is a No Brainer. Really?–there is a case for leaving this pathetic structure in place–for how long, ten more years, 50 more years until it falls down?

    Time to replace it is now–and we all know this. Suck up the negatives and get on with it emotionally as well as physically. Enough with the whining.

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