Serenaded by the USC marching band, university and city/county officials broke ground Monday on the $650 million USC Village project that will include student housing, shops and restaurants.

Located just north of the University Park campus, the 15-acre project is expected to be completed in late 2017.

“This is the largest development project not only in the history of USC, (but) in the history of South Los Angeles,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said.

Lupe Garrido, a USC parent and resident of the area, said the project “will give us a safe haven place for children and families to visit.”

The project is being built on land owned by the university that used to house a shopping center.

University officials said the 1.2 million-square-foot project will include housing for 2,700 students, along with a grocery store and 100,000 square feet of additional retail, including dining, entertainment venues and shops.

The village will also be home to the Honors Hall, thanks to a $30 million donation by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation.

— City News Service

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