Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa announced Tuesday the county and city have reached a preliminary agreement to create a joint powers authority to help establish a biotech park at USC's Boyle Heights health campus.

The BioMed/Tech Focus Area County-City Joint Powers Authority would redevelop county and city land in the Boyle Heights area near USC's medical school and Los Angeles-County USC Medical center.

USC has been attempting to develop a biomedical park near its Keck School of Medicine for four years but has been stymied by a variety of obstacles, including the fact that the land is under multiple ownership.

The agreement still must be approved by both the Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council, and even then it does not ensure that the park will be built on the scale envisioned by USC, generating some 8,500 jobs and one day covering 100 acres or more.

However, the stalled project was given a boost recently by the passage of Prop. 71, which sets aside $3 billion for stem cell research in the state. It prompted USC last year to move ahead with a pilot project involving a single building that could accommodate private companies and a new research tower that will include space for stem cell research.

USC owns some 12 acres itself in the area that likely would provide adequate space for the park's growth over the next five years or more.

The neighborhood is in both Molina's and Villaraigosa's districts.

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