- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2008

Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, a real estate company started by former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Earvin Magic Johnson, secured a $53 million loan for a residential-and-retail complex that it is building in the District.

The construction loan from Citi Community Capital will fund the completion of Park Place, located above a Green Line Metro station in the Columbia Heights section of Northwest, Los Angeles-based Canyon-Johnson said yesterday. The project, which is being built with closely held Donatelli Development of Bethesda, began construction in the third quarter of 2007. It’s scheduled for completion in July 2009.

Urban areas such as Washington are “domestic emerging markets” for investment, said Bobby Turner, Canyon-Johnson’s managing partner. Many people have shifted from owning single-family homes in the suburbs to living in cities, he said earlier this week during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The complex will have 161 residential units, 20 percent of which will be priced as affordable for teachers, nurses and police officers, Canyon-Johnson said. The development also will have 16,000 square feet of retail space as well as underground parking.

Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, a joint venture between Magic Johnson Enterprises and closely held Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC, specializes in development of properties in underserved urban neighborhoods.

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