A planned $1.1-billion makeover of a faded shopping center near USC into much-needed student housing and retail space was put on hold by a Los Angeles City Council land-use committee Tuesday after community groups protested the project's potential negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
After listening to three hours of debate, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee asked for more information about how other major universities have handled community concerns during major upgrades — including fears that low-income residents could be displaced.
Chairman Ed Reyes asked for a report, expected in mid-September, that would address "loops that have yet to be closed" in the project, which has been in the works for nine years.
Thomas Sayles, USC's senior vice president of university relations, urged the committee to proceed quickly.
"We're hoping to move forward as soon as possible," Sayles said. "The majority of the community supports this project."
The development, on Jefferson Boulevard north of USC's campus, would create 12,000 jobs and provide as much as 350,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store, several sit-down restaurants, shops and services, officials said. A pedestrian plaza as long as the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica would cut across the revamped community, offering space for a farmers market and community gatherings.