Ventus Group unveils new plan for controversial Fig project

Developer is formalizing an agreement to preserve a handful of historic fourplexes

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Apr.April 01, 2020 03:41 PM
Ventus Group President Scott Gale and a rendering of the Fig
Ventus Group President Scott Gale and a rendering of the Fig

Ventus Group has redesigned The Fig, its mixed-use project outside the USC campus, following the settlement of an appeal of the project.

Ventus filed a new plan with the Department of City Planning on Tuesday. The plan reflects an agreement made in the fall resolving an appeal of the project over the fate of a series of historic fourplexes that are part of the development site.

The City Council approved a plan last summer that included the demolition of those buildings, but opponents quickly appealed the decision. Ventus agreed to preserve three fourplexes part of the Flower Drive Historic District, which overlaps about a third of the 4.4-acre project site.

The Irvine-based firm will ultimately convert those buildings into commercial spaces, according to Ventus Group president Scott Gale.

That required Ventus to downsize and reallocate some of the units in the $455 million project to other parts of the development site. Plans for the 298-room hotel have been reduced to 252 rooms. Student housing units have been bumped up to 252 rooms from 200, and rental units have been reduced to 78 from 200.

Commercial space appears unchanged — around 72,600 square feet of retail and restaurant space and just over 23,000 square feet of office space.

If the Department of City Planning approves the design, Ventus can begin planning construction. The project does not need to be re-approved per the California Environmental Quality Act, Gale said. The CEQA approval process is usually among the more lengthy aspects of development, sometimes dragging on for over a year.

Ventus first proposed the Fig development in 2016 and it’s gone through a handful of redesigns since. The firm, then-called Spectrum Group, wanted to include a 21-story hotel tower in the development, but it dropped those plans in the face of stiff neighborhood opposition a year later.

Ventus purchased the development site parcels last May, a few months after the City Planning Commission approved the development.


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