Magic Johnson presents ‘design-your-own’ lofts

There’s more interesting twists to this story than you may first think. The post-Lakers career Magic Johnson is known for in the business world is bringing urban retail to economically-disinvested neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, his somewhat industrial economy approach has been to do so with clusters of national chains like TGIF’s and Starbucks (see his website for immediate evidence), not the most effective means of supporting the local economy and culture (as otherwise indicated in the top picture of his website).

However, there’s a sign that he may be shifting to a more knowledge economy-oriented approach to development. First, he’s investing in loft development in Charlestown, Boston via the $54 million, 146-unit Mezzo Design Lofts, providing housing for where many knowledge workers want to be – downtown. Second, the development emphasizes collaborative social spaces, from courtyards to patios to balconies, another creative, entrepreneurial must. Finally, future home buyers get to customize their loft interiors, a service previously provided mainly to single-family home buyers. Maybe by his next project he’ll work on making them a bit smaller and more attainably priced.

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