NBA's Devean George plans Mpls. housing complex

MINNEAPOLIS – Veteran NBA player Devean George continues to make a difference on the north side of Minneapolis.

"My heart will always be here," says George. "I was born and raised here."

His 10-year NBA career ended in 2010, but he's not done being a part of victories.

His foundation, Building Blocks, provides camps and programs that promote healthy living among children and teens. The organization's next step is to take an unused plot of land on Penn Avenue and use it spur change.

"What we're doing here is going to help people," says George. "I want this to catapult this neighborhood into something good."

In July, his foundation will break ground on a $10 million project called the Penn Avenue Commons. It will combine quality, low-income housing and space for local business owners. An entire section of the building will include space for children's programming and events, advancing the mission of Building Blocks.

"What makes this unique is the model were using," says Building Blocks board member Scott Anderson. "Between housing, youth programming, healthy living and economic development this is a great opportunity."

For George, this has never been about himself. Rather, it's about giving back and empowering young people in the place where he grew up.

"I would feel guilty with all the blessings and gifts I've received not to pay it forward," he says.

The Penn Avenue Commons will open in spring 2015.


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