Helicopter putting up USC sign on building

The USC shield is placed atop the landmark office tower Dec. 19. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)


USC takes its place in Los Angeles skyline

University’s name, shield placed atop downtown landmark

December 21, 2015 USC News staff

USC’s logo and name now sit atop a 32-story landmark office tower at Olive and 12th streets, facing the east and west sides of the city of Los Angeles.

On Dec. 19 and 20, a Huey helicopter raised six letters, two shields and supporting framework to the top of the tower. The letters weigh about 500 pounds each and stand 15 feet tall. The shield weighs 2,000 pounds and is 20 feet high.

VIDEO: Watch as USC signs take to the sky over downtown LA

The university now rents more than 1.3 million square feet of office and laboratory space in the Southern California region, about 20 percent of it in the tower. It’s part of USC’s dramatic expansion during the past four years, with 2 million square feet of university-owned space added or nearing completion. The total includes 1.2 million square feet at USC Villagewhich will open in 2017.

Sign of the times

The sign’s placement will give the tower a USC presence from top to bottom. The university became the building’s largest tenant earlier this year, leasing more than a quarter of the tower across several floors for various university units. The broadcast studios of Classical KUSC, one of the nation’s most popular classical music stations, occupy the basement.

USC has steadily increased the space it rents in the building. In February, the university signed a new long-term lease with property owner LBA Realty that included the right to the building-top signage.

The lease expanded the university’s footprint within the two-building, mixed-use complex, providing additional office space for the USC Marshall School of Business, USC Price School of Public Policy, USC School of Social Work, USC Viterbi School of Engineering and other university units.

A cornerstone of DTLA

The 32-story building at 1150 S. Olive St., designed by noted architect William Pereira and completed in 1965, is home to several other tenants, including Transamerica, Fox Sports and the United Way of Southern California. Steelcase recently relocated its Los Angeles showcase to the property.

The LEED Platinum property is located in the South Park neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles, which is experiencing a renaissance of new housing, retail and adaptive re-use development.

Pereira — perhaps best known for designing the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco — taught at the USC School of Architecture and designed more than a dozen buildings on the University Park Campus including the Bing Theatre and Olin, Powell, Ramo and Vivian halls.