Magic Johnson Creates a Real Estate Movement in Minority Communities – Business Observer

Magic Johnsonwho spearheaded development in underserved urban communities in the decades since the end of his storied NBA career, lobbies for more commercial real estate investment in initiatives that benefit minority areas.

The five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers said Monday Mortgage Bankers Association CREF conference in San Diego that its successful efforts from the late 1990s to build Starbucks in city centers across Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE) proves that investing in largely overlooked neighborhoods can pay dividends for corporate America. Johnson noted that shortly after convincing the then CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz to partner with the coffee giant’s delivery to ethnically diverse communities like Harlem, its stores outperformed the chain’s suburban locations on a per capita basis.

“We wanted the best of the best, but we had to get out of our community to get it, so I wanted to make sure we were talking about that kind of buying power,” Johnson told an enthusiastic gathering of industry professionals. CRE finance about its beginnings. days as an entrepreneur convincing companies like Starbucks to do more inventory in black neighborhoods. “I knew my business was going to be successful, so I just had to partner with experts.”

Johnson, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 acquired and eventually sold 125 Starbucks locations as the only franchisee in company history. He has formed a number of partnerships through MJE such as an alliance with Sony Pictures develop Magic Johnson Theaterswhich are now controlled by AMC Entertainment Holdings.

The successful entrepreneur, who is a part-time owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said Harlem is a perfect example of how investing in communities of color can pay off for the CRE industry. He opened a Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem in 2000 and the community’s first Starbucks in 1998, which he says served as a catalyst for even bigger developments.

Developments have also sprung up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood and in South Central Los Angeles, which Johnson says is the result of those initial decisions by the real estate community to support new projects there. He said lenders can play a vital role in maintaining momentum in minority areas.

“When I look back at what I’ve been able to do over the past 30 years and see that our community now has quality retailers and housing options that we didn’t have before,” Johnson said of the progress it has seen over the past three decades. . “Now we have to make sure we get the loans.”

Andrew Coen can be reached at [email protected].