Yes, that’s right – I’m writing an article about NBA Superstar and Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal. After dabbling in different career fields (including acting and police enforcement), Shaq is onto his latest venture: real estate. In fact, Shaq has formed a new company called the O’Neal Group that will focus on mixed use development projects around the country. His first development in Miami sounds slamtastic:
The first project for The ONeal Group is MDM Development's Metropolitan Miami project. (The Met), a billion-dollar project which includes more than 1,100 residential units, among them the 866-foot Met 3, the tallest residential tower south of New York, an office tower, luxury hotel, entertainment complex, and the area’s first Whole Foods store. O’Neal plans to also bring a 24-Hour Fitness/Shaq Ultra Sport fitness facility to the project.
“Our primary focus is on landmark locations and real estate offerings that positively impact the way people live. Mixed-use developments with integrated living and `intelligent’ designs — such as The Met – are the prototypical examples of what we hope to accomplish,” said Christopher Handy, O’Neal Group executive vice president.
The Met 3 will likely be a landmark icon in Miami’s downtown, much like Sacramento’s Towers at Capitol Mall (currently under construction). This is very good news for the smart growth and walkability world. The presence of big-name people should bring some media attention to quality design and smart growth projects. Shaq will be following the footsteps of another NBA standout, Kevin Johnson, who has taken on some redevelopment projects in his childhood neighborhood, Oak Park in Sacramento.