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Students Offer Ideas for Future of Pico

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2008, at 09:50AM
Pico Presentation Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Lisa Herbst presents future possibilities for Pico Boulevard on the AT&T Center on Monday evening.

Eighty percent of the development rights around Pico Boulevard in South Park remain unbuilt, according to a presentation Monday evening by students from USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development. The session was the result of a project done in the spring, which produced three proposals for a master-planned redevelopment centered on the street.

While South Park has seen a good deal of new development, almost all of it has occurred above Pico. The students' proposals took a wide-ranging look at the neighborhood, considering existing infrastructure and uses while looking at different ideas for the future of the street. The group produced a 120-page report laying out current conditions and the three development proposals.

The Pico Village proposal laid out a mix of uses along the street, with mixed-income housing, a museum and connections to the Metro station on Flower. The Manhattan West proposal focused on density, but set out to avoid typical urban canyons by stepping back building heights. The first thirty feet in from the street would be limited to approximately two stories, with buildings rising to full height back from the street. The Park offered a heavy focus on green space, encouraging multi-family housing in dense but shorter buildings.

South Park Stakeholders Group head Mike Pfeiffer, who helped organize and oversee the project, said that while the proposals may not be buildable as presented, they play an important role in helping to create ideas that might be implemented in the neighborhood. The proposals are the "grains of sand to get the pearl finally to come forward," Pfeiffer said.

At the end of the evening, the students offered suggestions for first steps to move Pico forward. They promoted a focus on infrastructure and public improvements and a reworked approval process that would make development and business growth easier.

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