Ventus scores approval for controversial Fig mixed-project

The development will include 200 rental units, a 298-room hotel and nearly 100K sf of commercial space

Tracey Raszewski and Ventus Group President Scott Gale
Tracey Raszewski and Ventus Group President Scott Gale

Ventus Group has gotten final approval for its $455 million mixed-use mega complex, a planned development that had drawn strong opposition from community groups. The City Council unanimously approved plans for the development.

The Fig will be a group of seven-story buildings with a 298-room hotel, 200 units of student housing, 200 rental units, and 96,500 square feet of mixed commercial space. The apartments will have 82 rental set aside as affordable. Architects Orange designed the project.

Irvine-based Ventus faced stiff opposition from neighbors because of the size of The Fig and because 32 rent-controlled units on Flower Drive would be demolished.

The Fig will rise on a 4.4-acre site on the 3900 block of Figueroa Street, across from Expo Park near the University of Southern California and the school’s $700 million mixed-use USC Village development completed in 2017.

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Ventus first proposed the project in 2016, but it took until this February for the City Planning Commission to approve it.

In May, Ventus pulled the trigger on the land needed, paying $17.8 million for eight parcels.

The developer is seeking tax breaks from the city for the construction. Groundbreaking hasn’t yet been set.

Ventus at first wanted to include a 21-story tower, but scrapped that plan in the fall of 2017.

Community groups filed two city appeals. The Council rejected one and another appellant dropped a challenge last month, all but assuring its final approval.