You have to be agile to be able to follow the activities of Frank McCourt. It’s going all over the place, from MGG Capital(1)a niche investment fund, to the famous Project Liberty, which is developing a solution to better protect personal data on the Internet and save democracy, as well as the London project The Stage, which has a development budget of 750 million pounds sterling. (2). And the least we can say is that the American has strong support in his project to reform the Internet like Bruce Springsteen.
In Los Angeles, the green slingshot
McCourt’s activity in Los Angeles is undoubtedly the most interesting for Marseille supporters, by the similarities that can be woven. Sport at the base, of course, but also real estate as a backdrop. The major project of the moment for the Bostonian in the City of Angels is the construction of a ring road (Gondola) between Union Station and the Dodgers stadium. It must be said that if this Gondola ended up seeing the light of day, it would enhance the land and parking lots around the Dodgers stadium, still operated by McCourt, not to mention the 170 apartments in Chinatown that he is seeking to build. A clever way to grow this old “asset” which could end up being very expensive, but also to hatch others around…
If the project has already been approved by the Los Angeles metro company, it continues to encounter significant obstacles, as can be seen from reading the leaflets of a Los Angeles citizens’ association: « Stop McCourt’s Gondola! Don’t put public money at risk! »
Frank McCourt wants to build an expensive gondola to Dodger Stadium. If they have cost overruns or need pricey repairs, taxpayers like us may be left to foot the bill. LA has had enough of McCourt’s schemes – sign the petition to #StopTheGondola: https://t.co/SG74qMOg6N pic.twitter.com/NdoTIJcj2D
— StopTheGondola (@stopthegondola) September 30, 2022
The communities of the neighborhoods crossed by this line do not consider it necessary, nor ecological, and demand accountability from the potential builder LA ART (an entity in partnership with McCourt Global, of course). A first lawsuit on the granting of the market without public call for tenders was lost by the opponents, but a second battle is announced, since the plans of the ring road envisage the installation of towers on sites reserved for the construction of housing according to Matthew Szabo, administrative officer of the city of Los Angeles. And then there’s the McCourt name clearly serving the project. To convince yourself of this, just go to the site THE ARTwhere there is not the slightest trace of the name of the owner of OM, then to go to the site of the opponents Stop the Gondola where there, his name is everywhere. His history with the Dodgers is on everyone’s mind. Even the willingness to delegate the construction to an ecological non-profit organization is not enough to calm suspicions.
The Vél’ as the first location in Marseille
McCourt has proven time and time again that he knows how to be patient with his investments. The paths he takes are rarely the most obvious and almost always strewn with pitfalls, but in business he loses little. In Marseille, his desire to recover the Parc Chanot, a 17-hectare territory a stone’s throw from the Vélodrome, or the Borély racecourse, 15 hectares, located just a little further, have failed. For the moment. His great victory is to have recovered the operation of the Vélodrome stadium(3). Not exactly a flourishing business in the context of the private-public partnership (PPP), but it is a first stone on which to build the continuation. A first seed planted whose growth will have to be monitored to understand the Bostonian’s final trajectory in Marseille…
Monaco joined by ESTAC on the wire
(1) Launched by McCourt in 2014 with an initial investment of $200M, the fund claimed to have lent around $1.5 billion in 2021.
(2) The Stage is in partnership with Cain Hoy Enterprises, LLC, and Galliard Homes for example.
(3) Operations managed by OM Opérations, a sub-branch of McCourt Europe.