The Village at USC, the subject of a development deal signed Wednesday, will include retail and restaurants on ground floors, with student housing above. It is expected to take nearly two decades to complete. Annette Arreola reports from Exposition Park in Los Angeles for NBC4 News at noon on March 27, 2013.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave the go-ahead Wednesday for a $1 billion retail and residential project next to USC's campus southwest of downtown.
Villaraigosa, along with other city leaders and University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias, signed the development agreement for USC Village -- a complex that will include student housing, shops, restaurants, bars, offices, a theatre, hotel, park and grocery store.
"It's such a prime location for a lot of businesses to excel here," USC student Taylor Foreman said.
Officials said they expect the 5-million-square-foot project to create 12,000 jobs -- including 8,000 that would be permanent and 4,000 for construction.
The city's largest private employer, USC promised to fill at least 30 percent of new jobs created with local residents and 10 percent with members of disadvantaged groups.
"I kind of like the idea, bringing more jobs to the community," area resident Michelle Kornegay said. "I know it will be a long time, but for my children...to get a job right in the community would be great."
After earlier opposition from residents who were concerned about the project’s effect on the area, the community eventually voiced support after USC pledged to spend $27 million on affordable housing in South LA.
Last December, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted in favor of the development, which will remake the blocks north and east of campus that are currently home to the outdated University Village complex.
The project -- described as the largest economic development project in South LA’s history -- is part of USC's larger master plan, which was approved by the university's board in 2008.
The complex is expected to be completed in 2030.
NBC4’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this story.