NFL star McGinest may invest in Central Long Beach
By Karen Robes Meeks
LONG BEACH - NFL player Willie McGinest is looking to invest in Central Long Beach.
The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency board on Monday will consider an exclusive negotiating agreement with the longtime linebacker's company, Wilmac Enterprises, Inc., for the development of the northwest corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Pine Avenue.
Wilmac, a private real estate firm established by McGinest in 1998 that specializes in neighborhood retail, approached 6th District City Councilman Dee Andrews' office about available sites for potential development and was directed to the RDA, said Central Project Area Officer David White.
One of those sites was a vacant 17,188-square-foot lot, the site of a former recycling center that drew homeless people and drug dealers to the neighborhood.
"It was a horrible, horrible situation over there," White said.
Deeming it blight, the agency purchased the lot a few years ago for about $1 million, White said.
"That site was a very challenging site for us," he said. "It's a small site that large developers don't find attractive because it's not big enough, but (McGinest) was like, `You know, I just want to come in and give back to my community."'
If the plan is approved, both parties will spend the next 120 days (with an optional 120-day extension) to discuss the terms of the development.
Andrews said McGinest's project could mean job creation for the youth in his community.
"I like athletes who have done well and come back to put something back in and create jobs that lower crime," the councilman said. "This is going to be a great thing, and it's really wonderful that Willie is taking this on."
The former Long Beach Poly and USC star who played on three Super Bowl championship teams with the New England Patriots has been a big community supporter, most recently with the highly anticipated $140 million Kroc Community Center, a 168,000- square-foot facility with aquatics, sports fields, a gym, and arts and education areas on 19 acres just north of Pacific Coast Highway and east of Walnut Avenue.
The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber at 300 W. Ocean Blvd.