Johnson Brings Magic to Urban Development

Basketball legend's fund has raised $1B, despite realty slump
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 2:29 PM CDT
Basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson laughs as he signs autographs.   (AP Photo/David Lienemann)
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(Newser) – Amid the subprime and recession chaos sits a gleaming urban development fund that has banked $1 billion with basketball legend Magic Johnson at the helm. The Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund has already completed major projects in Hollywood and Chicago, reports the LA Times, and, Johnson says, "The potential for revitalization in ethnically diverse communities is nearly limitless."

The fund is thriving, despite the national real estate slump. "Demand for affordable housing and community-serving retail is only going to increase," says Bobby Turner, a managing partner. Johnson says he listens closely to urban residents about what they want in their neighborhoods. "We don't just go in and build what we want," he says.