On Sunday, linebackerRay Lewis
to help the Ravens beat the Steelers. On October 27, he'll be opening an art gallery/real estate firm in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The company opening the Las Olas Boulevard store, RL52 Realty, is said to be the linebacker's retirement plan for whenever he finishes his 15-year NFL career. The real estate firm already has an office in Boca Raton, and its second office on Las Olas will double as a gallery featuring sports-based art.
Considering Lewis is busy playing football and doing Old Spice commercials, he won't
be too involved with the business yet. But partner Sol Kandel says RL52 was a shared idea he had with Lewis, who will be active in it during the offseason and after he retires. "He's got his vision and his creative hand in all aspects of the business," Kandel said.
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Just what that means isn't clear -- Kandel declined to say what Lewis will be doing specifically for the company. "Well, I think you should ask Ray about that personally," he said. Kandel also passed on explaining how he got hooked up with Lewis. But he said, "This isn't one of those ventures of a sports star that just slaps his name on a business."
Lewis' stout image already adorns a website and signs for RL52 Realty, including on a piece of vacant land in the 200 block of NE Third Street in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
According to this news release, RL52 will use the retail space at 1034 E. Las Olas Blvd., next to SoLita, as a real estate office during the day and a sports-themed art gallery that will stay open late. The art will include photography by Marc Serota of athletes including Lewis, Dwyane Wade, and Dan Marino. A grand-opening celebration is planned for October 27.
Lewis, a University of Miami graduate, may be the best defensive player in the game today, but these days, picking off Charlie Batch may be easier than busting into Florida real estate. Kandel says a downturn may be the best time to enter the market. "You can look at it as a glass half empty or a glass half full, and we choose to look at it as half full," he said.