Three-time Super Bowl champion NFL player and Long Beach native Willie McGinest.
Three-time Super Bowl champion NFL player and Long Beach native Willie McGinest. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

LONG BEACH - Professional football linebacker and Long Beach native Willie McGinest is looking to invest in redevelopment property in North Long Beach, adjacent to the North Village Center project.

Long Beach Redevelopment Agency board members Monday approved a six-month exclusive negotiating agreement with Willie McGinest's real estate company, Wilmac Enterprises, Inc., to develop the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and 61 st Street. Wilmac is a private real estate firm established in 1998 that specializes in neighborhood retail.

The contract - which includes an optional six-month extension - allows the two parties to discuss what kind of retail could be place on the vacant 61,000-square-foot site. The property also is near the North Village Center, a 6.3-acre project along Atlantic Avenue between 56 th and 59 th streets that will feature housing and retail, library and community center.

""We're continuing to fight the good fight and I'm proud to say that our group already has a signed LOI (Letter of Intent) from a national tenant for that site," said the former Long Beach Poly and USC star who had played on three Super Bowl championship teams with the New England Patriots.

McGinest added that this week national tenants will be touring a site in Central Long Beach.

In November, the agency board supported an exclusive negotiating agreement with Wilmac for the development of a commercial project in Central Long Beach.

The vacant 17,188-square-foot lot on the northeast corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Pine Avenue was a former recycling center that drew homeless people and drug dealers to the neighborhood. The agency had purchased the lot a few years ago for about $1 million.

"We want to make sure we're putting in the right things that coincides with the community and that makes our city proud," he said.

karen.robes@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1303