Last week the L.A. City Council unanimously approved the largest redevelopment project in the history of South Los Angeles. The University of Southern California’s Specific Plan will create housing for more than 5000 students, new dining and entertainment options and a new fire station. It will also provide $20 million for affordable housing throughout the neighborhoods that surround USC. In total, the 20-year project is expected to create 12,000 construction and permanent jobs and have a $1.1 billion impact on the region's economy. As one neighborhood advocate described in her supporting testimony, “USC will provide unprecedented benefits to the community.”
Needless to say, statements of thanks were in abundance in Council chambers. The building trades were thanked for entering into a project labor agreement. Staff in the City Planning Department, City Attorney’s office, Housing Department, Department of Transportation, Community Development Department, Chief Legislative Analyst and Mayor’s office were identified by name, asked to stand and received applause for their hard work. The community advocates and housing advocates were acknowledged for their participation in the approval process. And Council members patted each other on the back for their eventual support of a project that will transform the quality of life in South LA.
Yet, other than a few brief mentions, there was one thank you that was conspicuously absent — gratitude to the University itself, whose incredible investment and dogged persistence during the arduous four-year approval process made this all possible.
On behalf of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank the University of Southern California for its investment in our community. I also want to thank USC for its many other contributions to Los Angeles, like:
- Making the decision to stay and grow in the urban core of Los Angeles 20 years ago when you were surrounded by riots and neighborhoods that had been neglected;
- Providing $30 million in community investments each and every year to support the needs of the neighborhoods that surround USC;
- Being the largest private sector employer in the City of Los Angeles and for the billions of dollars in economic impact you have on the city and region every year;
- Graduating thousands of skilled leaders who have been part of the innovation and hard work that made L.A. the second largest city in America and the creative capitol of our nation.
This major investment by USC is cause for celebration, but USC is not alone. Its investment is symbolic of hundreds of other businesses, both large and small, that invested in Los Angeles during 2012 and added new jobs for the residents of our community.
In the spirit of the holidays, as we count our blessings, let’s all take a moment to say thank you to the many private sector businesses who invested their resources in Los Angeles and our region during the past year. They are multi-national corporations and mom and pop businesses. Their investments are what drive our economy and the quality of life in our community. They helped create Happy Holidays in Los Angeles.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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