USC appeals apartment project that could block LA Coliseum sign

University says five-story building would obstruct visibility along the 110 Freeway

USC Appeals Apartment Project for Blocking LA Coliseum Sign
Rendering of plans for 3851 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles and USC president Carol Folt (DFH Architects, Carol

USC has mounted a Trojan defense against an approved five-story building it says would block the sign for the 100-year-old Memorial Coliseum.

The university has appealed the City of Los Angeles’ OK for a wedge-shaped apartment complex proposed by Hamid Razipour of Razi Grand Property at 3851 South Grand Avenue, next to the 110 Freeway across from Exposition Park, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

The appeal comes four months after Los Angeles Football Club appealed a seven-story complex proposed by Razipour at 3801 South Grand, east of its soccer stadium at Exposition Park.

Plans for the smaller complex at Grand and 39th Street challenged by USC include 12 live/work apartments above 700 square feet of ground-floor shops, plus a six-car garage.

USC appealed the project on grounds it would obstruct the adjacent Coliseum Sign at 3843 South Grand Avenue. It argues in its appeal that the project has not undergone sufficient environmental analysis.

The project, approved this month, employs Transit Oriented Communities incentives to build a larger building than zoning rules allow in exchange for one affordable apartment for an extremely low-income household.

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The university also contends Razipour hasn’t provided enough affordable housing to justify the TOC bonus allowing a taller building.

In its appeal, USC cited 100 years of history between the school and Memorial Coliseum, where the Trojans kicked off its first football game in 1923. A decade ago, the university took over operation and management of the stadium, followed by an investment of $270 million.

The Coliseum sign along the 110 Freeway, which would be obstructed by the apartments, was found eligible for local historic designation, according to the university. It may be eligible for the California Register of Historic Resources because of its link to the 1984 Summer Olympics. 

In its appeal, the Los Angeles Football Club said the 40-unit complex approved for 3801 South Grand might have unanticipated impacts to air quality, noise and historic structures nearby.

— Dana Bartholomew

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