The latest addition to the USC Health Sciences campus is one step closer to reality, following a vote taken by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.

The USC Discovery and Translation Hub, planned for a surface parking lot at 1500 Eastlake Avenue, would consist of a seven-story, nearly 144-foot-tall building which would feature more than 200,000 square feet of research space - including both wet and dry labs. The mid-rise structure is intended to support 84 researchers, and would also include a subterranean connection to the neighboring Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and a new central utility plant.

Aerial view looking northSmithGroup

"The proposed DTH Building would be a critical component of the USC biomedical research ecosystem, in which real world health problems in the community, clinics, and hospitals would inform discovery and translational research that would lead to new treatments, diagnostics, and prevention for diseases," reads a staff report, which also notes that 75 percent of the search space would be wet labs for experimentation, with the remaining 25 percent for computational and desktop research.

The building would also include a roughly 2,000-square-foot lecture hall, a cafe and vending machine area, a biorepository, a medical chemistry core lab, and other meeting and support spaces. Parking for the facility would be provided within existing spaces on the Health Sciences campus.

At the exterior, plans call for upgrades to an existing central quad area, which would add14,000 square feet of open space consisting of a lawn, patio seating, and terraced seating area.


SmithGroup is designing the Discovery and Translation Hub, which is portrayed as a contemporary mid-rise structure clad in glass.

Findings included with the project's entitlement filing in December 2022 estimated that the complex would cost approximately $315 million to build.

The project follows a brief lull in USC's expansion at the Health Sciences campus, which last saw the opening of a new graduate student housing facility in 2020, and a Hyatt House hotel shortly afterward.

Typical open labSmithGroup

The neighboring Los Angeles General Medical Center complex is also going through changes, most notably through plans to convert the historic General Hospital building and 12 acres of surrounding land into housing, commercial uses, and other community facilities.

Approval of the project was no sure thing. The project was faced with vocal opposition from residents and activists in the surrounding a community, who accused USC of accelerating gentrification near in the surrounding community and near its main campus in University Park. The Discovery and Translation Hub has previously been scheduled for hearings at multiple meetings of the commission since late 2023, only to be continued. Approval comes more than six months after the item was first slated for a vote.

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