Lance Johnstone laughed when he recalled his days at Temple.
“I lost a lot of football games!” the former Owls captain said.
After he graduated from Temple in 1996 with a sports management degree, Johnstone went on to the NFL for 11 years, where he played for the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings.
Now, he’s giving back to Temple.
Johnstone, who grew up in Philadelphia, recently paired up with Legacy Growth Partners, a development company from New York, and they are currently building an apartment complex at Broad Street and Indiana Avenue intended for Temple students, especially those from the Health Sciences Campus.
“My overall vision for this in particular,” Johnstone said, “was for it to be the first phase for many more [buildings] in that area.”
Legacy Growth Partners predicts that these apartments, the “first step” in Johnstone’s developments, will be opened for occupancy this December. He said his strategy is to draw in a mix of young students, professors and residents of the neighborhood.
“It’s such a strong part of our city that I think has been neglected for so long,” he said.
Corey L. Galloway, the principal of Legacy Growth Partners, said that with the current project he has spent more time in Philadelphia than New York. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity [in Philadelphia],” he said.
Galloway was reluctant to disclose the projected rent for the apartments at Broad and Indiana.
“The demand has exceeded our expectations, probably five times over,” he said.
Although the apartments are being constructed with the intention of renting to Temple students, the university will not be affiliated with the building, Galloway said.
“As developers, we’ve done this on our own,” he said. “We’re open to conversations with Temple, [but] we’re steadfast with keeping it private.”
Elie Dworkin, a fourth-year nursing student, said she thinks the new apartments could be unsafe.
“I think that safety would be a huge issue, especially because there aren’t any other Temple buildings around Broad and Indiana,” she said.
Despite the safety issue, she said students will be interested.
“I think a lot of people would live there because there’s such a shortage of housing on campus, but I guess it depends on what the apartments look like,” she said, adding that the Edge apartments on Main Campus have not been a hit with some students.
She also said the money could have been better spent.
“It’s a nice idea to have more housing, but I think if an NFL player really wants to help out, maybe they could give money for other activities.”
Johnstone said he plans to continue building on Temple’s campus.
“I looked on Main Campus, and I’m still looking on Main Campus as I grow,” he said. “This is a start because it’s a corner lot right by the train station, right by the hospital.”
He said he has been looking to build at Temple for a long time.
“I think Temple is such a strong anchor institution of the city, of the neighborhood,” he said. Johnstone added that he enjoyed his NFL career, but is just as glad to be developing at Temple.
“I got to live out my dream,” he said, “and this is dream No. 2.”
Morgan A. Zalot can be reached at email@example.com.