Trader Joe's to open in USC's new residential-retail complex in 2017

Trader Joe's to open a store at USC's planned residential-retail complex just south of downtown.

Grocery chain Trader Joe’s plans to put a store in USC's planned $650-million residential and retail complex, the biggest construction project in school history.

The university and Trader Joe's announced this week that the grocery will open at USC Village in the fall of 2017, serving both students and the community surrounding USC's main campus south of downtown Los Angeles.

For years, downtown boosters have pushed hard for a Trader Joe’s. The Monrovia-based chain attracts a cult following with its low-cost gourmet items.

The Downtown Breakfast Club even gave the chain its Lemon Award this year, chiding it for bypassing the reinvigorated city center.

Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said the company doesn't have "another downtown-area store in our two-year plan." 

The upcoming USC Village is just two miles south of Staples Center.

This week, USC formally broke ground on the development, which is just north of the USC campus and about two miles south of Staples Center. The project will replace a now-demolished shopping center at Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street.

The project, expected to be completed in the fall of 2017, will include living space for 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Also planned is a drugstore, a fitness center, restaurants and more. 

The college says USC Village's retail offerings will serve both students and those from outside the university. 

Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., only students, staff, faculty and registered guests will be allowed to enter the complex.   

Thomas Sayles, USC's senior vice president for university relations, told The Times this week that the restrictions should not be a bother to non-USC neighbors because most shopping malls close at 9 p.m.; restaurant diners entering before 9 p.m. will be able to stay, and anyone with later reservations will be allowed in.

The university has beefed up security measures in the wake of the deaths of three Chinese graduate students near the campus over the last two years.

Times staff Writer Larry Gordon contributed to this report.

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