When you take a look at the massive development of the City of Inglewood, one would have to explore long and deep to discover the man who has been at the foundation of it all.
That’s because Gerard McCallum prefers to be an effective key player behind the scene, executing on a vision that was once a far fetched dream decades ago.
Just look around Inglewood today and the evolution is becoming clearer by each passing day.
Robust housing construction and of course the cherry on the top, the $5 billion SoFi Stadium mix development project that will include a five star hotel, shops, retail outlets, parks and an additional entertainment venue at the location of Prairie Ave. and Century Blvd.
“I am amazed and proud of the people of color in this community, whose strength is fortified by its residents and have become a model for others to follow,” McCallum explained in an exclusive interview with Inglewood Today.
McCallum, the Senior Project Manager for San Francisco based Wilson Meany, a prominent developer of mixed-use, residential, retail, office and master plan urban infill properties.
His journey west from his humble beginnings in Houma, Louisiana has led him to the epicenter of the entertainment and sports capitol of the world and Inglewood was nothing like this when he first arrived as a young child.
That was in 1965 during the tail end of the Watts Riots when his late father came to visit McCallum’s uncle in Watts, but had to find safe shelter for his son in a motel in then lilywhite Inglewood.
“I was just a kid and not understanding what was going on at the time,” McCallum reflected.
Little did he know way back then that he would one day call Inglewood his adopted home.
McCallum’s first project in the city was in 1995 when the Lakers were soon to be leaving for Los Angeles and Hollywood Park Race Track was still attracting some 30,000 visitors per day.
He took time off from his day job as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles to assist with the economic development of Faithful Central Bible Church.
With McCallum’s visionary plans, Faithful Central evacuated an old printing factory on Florence Ave. and Eucalyptus which was transformed into the Living Room and orchestrated the purchase of a nearby warehouse that was transformed into the tabernacle.
Later he was instrumental in planning a rally at the Forum that was up for sale at the time and it was attended by 10,000 that resulted in the church ultimately renting the Forum for Sunday service.
It wasn’t until 2005 that he left Faithful Central to begin the renovation plans for Hollywood Park, and through his firm obtained the rights in 2008 for what would be Hollywood Park Tomorrow.
However the recession of 2008 would put those craft plans on hold for the 238 acres of land delegated to it.
Hence, by 2012 the stadium project evolved and with the masterful negotiating skills of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., the city managed to pull off a deal with the NFL that is marveled at today.
“None of this would have happened with Mayor Butts,” said McCallum. “It was his idea that no public set aside money be used and that it would be privately financed.”
Wilson Meany was behind the idea of an urban village that ensures the stadium is never dark during the off-season and the community is invested at all times.
McCallum, earned his degree in Business Administration for Biola in La Mirada, has his father to thank for teaching him the discipline and his mother the thank for instilling in him the ability to gather information at a quick clip for his success.
The City of Inglewood has Gerard McCallum to thank for his vision, commitment and dedicated planning that has transformed this city into a blueprint for urban communities throughout America.