San Diego Business Journal

Jack McGrory, former San Diego city manager and executive vice president and COO with the San Diego Padres, will leave that job next month to move into the president's chair at the ballclub's new real estate arm, Downtown Development, Inc.

At the same time, he will return to work with businessman Sol Price. He will be managing director of a new company "managing $500 million in assets focusing on real estate activity and entrepreneurial ventures," according to a statement released by the Padres.

Price declined to elaborate on that statement last week, saying only that McGrory will be working with him, not for him. The new company may be called the Price Group Inc., he said.

There will likely be a business relationship between the Price company and the Padres, McGrory said, adding that relationship "will be defined over the next couple of weeks." Price may provide management services to Downtown Development and the Padres, he said.

McGrory said he will likely spend his work weeks dealing with three areas: the ballpark, the new Price company, and Price's charitable ventures.

McGrory was president of Price Enterprises from September 1997 to November 1999, and has remained a director of the Price Charitable Fund. He expressed enthusiasm for returning to work with Price, and said he was "fortunate" to do so.

Price praised McGrory's values, his mind and his energy, and spoke of a trust he has with McGrory. "We'll be happy to have him back," Price said.

Still Affiliated With Padres

McGrory will make the transition in mid-August. Though he will leave his vice presidency, he will gain a seat on the ballclub's board of directors.

Downtown Development, Inc. is a Padres entity that will manage the ball club's real estate obligations in East Village. A new Padres ballpark is at the center of the East Village redevelopment project.

"We always envisioned , indeed, we announced upon his hiring , that Jack would someday be president of the future real estate company that would handle the burgeoning private development for which the Padres are responsible," said Padres President Larry Lucchino in a prepared statement. "He will do an exceptional job in this role. You can be certain of that."

"This was the exciting next step that we envisioned when I came on board," McGrory said in the same statement. "The most important activities for this ballclub are building the new ballpark and fulfilling our commitment to take responsibility for private development around the park. Those responsibilities are squarely on my shoulders and I'm eager to tackle them."

Pinch Hitter

Lucchino praised McGrory's leadership during a time he had to relinquish the reins of the Padres organization. Lucchino underwent surgery for the removal of prostate cancer in October at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; he returned to San Diego in November and has taken on more work as 2000 progressed.

"Jack was exactly what the doctor ordered," Lucchino said in a prepared statement. "We needed a real leader to step in when we knew that I would be out for a considerable period of time due to prostate cancer surgery. We had to keep the project and the ball club moving forward, without interruptions, and he enabled us to do so. He did a fantastic job.

"Fortunately, my health and energy are now permitting me to resume a normal workday, right when it's time for Jack to really plunge into the downtown real estate projects."