New campus icon unveiled during USC Village celebration

August 18, 2017

Sculptor Christopher Slatoff, Niki C. Nikias and USC President C. L. Max Nikias at the dedication of Hecuba in USC Village

One of the largest developments in the history of South L.A. features a towering statue of Hecuba, Queen of Troy, suites for 2,500 students, a Target and a Trader Joe’s.

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USC Village, the university’s massive development at the corner of Hoover Street and Jefferson Bouelvard, officially opened Thursday.

Not only is it the largest development in the university’s history, it’s also one of the the largest ever in South Los Angeles.

“This project has been a labor of love for all of us,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “We built this village to show our enduring commitment to our exceptional students and our beloved neighbors.”

A 20-foot-tall bronze statue of Hecuba, Queen of Troy, was revealed as confetti cannons showered cardinal and gold streamers on the thousands of Trojan Family members who packed Central Piazza. At her base is a tribute to diversity and the studies of various disciplines.

“This is our commitment to all of the women of the Trojan Family … who share the same spirit as the majestic Queen of Troy,” Nikias said.

Increasing USC’s campus by a third

With six buildings spread over 15 acres, the $700 million project increases the university’s University Park footprint by nearly a third.

Many of USC Village’s retailers are touching down in South L.A. for the first time, including Trader Joe’s, Target and trendy Sunset Boulevard eatery The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker.

Restaurants include Cava, the Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, The Baked Bear and a couple with celebrity ties, such as Trejo’s Tacos and Wahlburgers.

Residential college suites are on the upper floors, with retail on the ground level.

The suites in the residence halls – some with a kitchen – feature shared common areas, including outdoor lounges where students can study al fresco or just look down at the Central Piazza below.

There’s also a 30,000 square-foot fitness center.

A major commitment

USC Village will be a boon for the community, said Councilman Curren Price, who represents L.A.’s 9th district, which includes USC.

“Thank you for understanding the key to the future of this university is in its connection to its neighborhood,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, who was the mayor of Los Angeles when the project was approved.

USC is giving the city $20 million toward affordable housing nearby and built a $16 million firehouse across the street. During construction, more than 20 percent of the workers lived within five miles of the site and USC Village will create about 800 new permanent jobs.