USC Expands Boyle Heights Health Campus With New Building

by John Carlucci - January 10, 2023

USC President Carol Folt and a rendering of the expansion plans for the Boyle Heights health campus (LA City Planning, Twitter/@PresidentFolt)
USC President Carol Folt and a rendering of the expansion plans for the Boyle Heights health campus (LA City Planning, Twitter/@PresidentFolt)

The University of Southern California is adding to its health sciences campus development push in Boyle Heights with plans for a new seven-story, $315 million building.

The USC Discovery & Translational Hub, as the new building will be called, will stretch 206,000 square feet and also include two underground parking levels, according to planning documents registered with the City of Los Angeles late last month.

The “world class, innovative and iconic multi-discipline research facility” will be designed by L.A. architecture firm SmithGroup and will feature a wet and dry lab, auditorium, cafe and meeting spaces, among other elements.

The 8-acre site is located on Eastlake Avenue, North San Pablo Street and East Alcazar Street, in the middle of the school’s health sciences campus and north of the LAC+USC Medical Center. Renderings show a sleek-looking glass and metal building with rounded exterior curves.

“Softly flowing patterns and geometry give the building a human scale,” a design description reads. “The material palette is light to be in the spirit of many of the existing buildings on the North LIfe Sciences Campus.”

For several years USC, even while plagued by myriad scandals and financial difficulties — in 2021 the school sold off its presidential mansion and a notable Frank Lloyd Wright property — has been focused on real estate and development at its eastside satellite campus, which holds two hospitals and ranks among the region’s most important health campuses. In 2017 the university bought one campus property it had been leasing for $110 million; in 2018 it started work on a 95-unit dorm; and in 2021 it welcomed a 200-key campus hotel and purchased a four-story campus building from the Doheny Eye Institute for $57 million.

The growth of the campus has inspired new interest from housing developers around Boyle Heights and northeast LA.

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