LOS ANGELES (CBS) — South Los Angeles residents protested the University of Southern California’s expansion plans at city hall Thursday morning.
“They’re pushing us out of our community and I don’t think that’s fair,” South LA resident Jesus Lopez said.
USC is proposing to build the “Village at USC” which will offer an additional 5,400 students beds, 250 faculty housing units, a hotel and a conference center, and a new retail center with a supermarket and movie theatre.
The village is part of the university’s 20-year plan.
“We own all the land there is no displacement what so ever we are not buying additional property we are just redeveloping what we already have,” Tom Sayas, USC Senior Vice President University Relations, said.
Protestors fear that the new retail prospects will be unaffordable.
“We will not be able to shop at the expensive stores,” one protestor told CBS2′s Joy Benedict.
There has been an 18 percent decrease of family households in the 90007 zip code over the past decade, and critics say the university’s plans will lead to the displacement of even more low-income minorities.
Groups such as United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement and Strategic Actions for A Just Economy say the expansion would drive up rents and property values, pushing out residents whose average median income is just $23,000.
“According to USC’s projections, 12,600 jobs may be created by this project, but there is no assurance in the current plans of the accuracy of these numbers or that local residents would be considered to fill those job,” Benjamin Torres of CDTech says.
Supporters say the university, new Expo Line and a potential NFL stadium are contributing to the much-needed revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.