Finally, the dilapidated University Village mall has a date with destiny.  The last tenants have vacated the premises, and protective barriers now encircle the moribund shopping complex, which will soon be demolished to make way for phase one of the $1.1 billion Village at USC.  Located on a 14-acre block bounded by Jefferson Boulevard, McClintock Avenue, 30th and Hoover Streets, initial plans call for a five-building, low-rise complex that would house 2,470 students and offer approximately 140,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Designed by an architectural team that includes Elkus Manfredi, Melendrez Design Partners, and Harley Ellis Devereaux, the Village will closely adhere to the USC campus' current aesthetics.  Renderings portray a cluster of Neo-Gothic structures, clad in the school's ubiquitous red brick.  Buildings surround a landscaped central plaza, flanked by retail establishments and active transportation amenities (read: bike racks galore).  A series of pedestrian paseos will bisect the project site, facilitating easier connections to both the USC campus and the greater University Park neighborhood.

A full build out of the Village--which would include two additional city blocks--calls for roughly 2 million square feet of student housing, academic facilities and pedestrian oriented retail.  The development has stoked gentrification fears in University Park, where activists feel that an infusion of wealthier individuals will force working class residents out of the neighborhood.  USC has reluctantly attempted to mollify the situation, providing $20 million in affordable housing subsidies through an agreement brokered by City Hall.