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Magic Johnson to Help NorthPoint Development Break Ground?

The NorthPoint development in Cambridge may finally break ground with a little Magic. After years of starts and stops, the developers of NorthPoint recruited help from basketball legend Magic Johnson to help push forward one of the largest developments in New England. Ironically, the bane of New England’s existence in the 1980s, may be the savior nearly three decades later.

Johnson’s Los-Angeles-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds have partnered up with the original NorthPoint developers to help the project move forward and perhaps break ground sometime in 2012, reports the Cambridge Chronicle.

It was not reported what problems the development ran into that prevented it from ever breaking ground, but it's not hard to imagine the myriad of issues that a 45-acre mixed use residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, and life sciences development can run into.

For example, the 45-acre plot of land was likely not originally zoned for such divergent uses. Generally, land is zoned for a single purpose -- such as residential, commercial, or industrial use -- and not for mixed use like the proposed NorthPoint development. To achieve the mixed use, the developers will usually have to work closely with local government officials to receive the appropriate variances or re-zoning, and will have to convince the town that the development will provide a benefit.

In the case of the NorthPoint development, the project is slated to bring 3,500 units of housing, reports the Chronicle. As part of the housing, hundreds of affordable housing units are also being offered. The affordable housing is likely one of the concessions that the developers had to make to push their project through.

Magic Johnson was brought onboard the NorthPoint development project. To get the massive 45-acre mixed use project underway, the developers will probably have to work closely with public officials and make many more concessions.

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