Ventus Group can break ground on its $455M Exposition Point project outside USC

The project formerly known as The Fig received final L.A City Council approval last week

Scott Gale and a rendering of the project
Scott Gale and a rendering of the project

Ventus Group’s $455 million mixed-use project Exposition Point cleared Los Angeles’ planning process last week, paving the way to finally break ground.

Exposition Point, formerly called The Fig, is set to rise on 4.4 acres just outside the USC Campus near Exposition Park. Ventus Group expects to break ground at the end of 2021 and open the complex in 2024, eight years after first proposing the development.

Ventus redesigned the project twice, most recently following an agreement in the fall to preserve a series of historic fourplexes at the development site.

A 2017 redesign scrapped a 21-story hotel tower contested by neighborhood groups.

The approved version calls for 252 hotel rooms, 252 student housing units, and 78 rental units, 66 of which are designated as affordable. The previous version had more hotel rooms and rental units, but fewer student housing units. Commercial space is unchanged — nearly 73,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 23,000 square feet of office space.

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Ventus Group Scott Gale is pleased with the approved design and the way the process ultimately shook out.

“The delays have been so painful as you can imagine, but I think to myself, ‘Jeez, what would’ve happened if we were opening right now?’ It could have been a lot more complicated,” he told The Real Deal.

The late 2021 target for groundbreaking is meant to line up completion in mid-2024 in time for the fall school schedule. Ventus Group was on a “tight schedule” to start a year earlier than that, so decided to push it a year, “especially in light of covid,” according to Gale.

Ventus has been in talks with investors for the last few months. The firm wants to bring in an active development partner through a joint venture and then together bring in a limited partner from the institutional realm.
Institutional investors are expected to become more conservative with their checkbooks in the recession, although there’s still plenty of money going around these days.

Gale said that it was “hard to say” what the financing landscape would look like as coronavirus persists in many areas of the U.S., but that Ventus was “getting a lot of strong interest from the parties we were talking to last year.”