Josh Rahmani and Ebi Khalili have come a long way since they were fighting Brooklyn real estate for others.
The duo, which started the brokerage business, is currently contracting to buy a 40-story tower on 1330 Sixth Avenue from RXR Realty and Blackstone Group for $ 320 million. This is a fleshy deal that draws their attention to the biggest players in the New York market.
Cousins in their late thirties, Rahmani and Khalili, are making a fuss in Manhattan. In addition to their sixth acquisition in 1330, their company, Empire Capital Holdings, worked with retailer Igal Namdar last year to purchase the Midtown South office building on 345 Seventh Avenue for $ 107 million.
They are also in talks to buy a 14-story office property and retail condominium, 830 Third Avenue, in Lower Manhattan, according to sources familiar with the deal.
Sources familiar with their activities said they were facilitating their acquisition with the support of families and institutional money in their close Persian community.
Rahmani and Khalili did not respond to a request for comment, and their former partners refused to remain on record.
The pair largely avoided the press until 2015. The main character of the scorched earth operation Together with their cousins and former business partners Joseph and Daniel Ramani, they were allegedly fired to steal commissions and locked out of the office.
At one point, Hariri allegedly told Joseph and Daniel Ramani: You will both be fired. According to the complaint, remove the fuck from here and never come back! The proceedings were settled in 2017.
Since then, Rahmani and Khalili have stopped mediating and focused on acquisitions. In 2016, they got a trendy 64-key McCarren Hotel in Williamsburg. February refinancing.. They also purchased Soho and Tribeca retail assets. 35-37 East BroadwayThe former Gambling den In Chinatown.
“God is willing to buy over $ 1 billion in this market.”
Their new focus on the office is somewhat embarrassing. What does Rahmani and Khalili know what Blackstone and RXR don’t know? People near new buyers said they had the money to spend the money needed to modernize the space for their tenants. And now the price has dropped — RXR paid $ 400 million for the 2010 1330 Sixth — they have a chance to join the game.
Their rise follows a pattern commonly found in New York real estate: from merchants to players.
Rahmani obtained a real estate license in 2004 for the first semester at the University of Adelphi. By the end of the second semester, he claimed to have brokered over $ 100 million in assets and acquired three that year, according to his website.
Khalili’s first real estate gig took place at Franklin First Financial, a long island mortgage company. At the age of 20, he co-founded Venture Capital Properties, a securities firm focused on investment and sales, with Rahmani. The company specializes in off-market transactions and has taken off thanks to Sory Harabi, a hot shot broker representing Carlos Slim, a billionaire in Mexico.
By 2013, Venture Capital Properties had defeated Real Deal’s Top 20 Investment and Sales Companies. $ 250 million With great deals. According to their website, the company’s transactions include the acquisition of 430 Kent Avenue by Eliot Spitzer and the Beekman Hotel in Lower Manhattan.
But as their profile grew, so did their internal tension. Rahmani explained that he and Khalili did all the work, but Joseph and Daniel couldn’t contribute.
Rahmani and Khalili alleged that Joseph and Daniel received a $ 540,000 commission from the sale of Sitt Asset Management’s $ 27 million rent in Brooklyn’s Midwood district, but said the sale was terminated by the company. Did not report.
According to the affidavit, Hariri and Ramani asked Daniel and Joseph about the deal, claiming that “Daniel arrived angry and threatened to stab me in particular.” According to the affidavit, the brothers had to be detained by a colleague and escorted from the building.
Meanwhile, Daniel and Joseph claimed that Hariri and Ramani separated them from their business, and that they used the brokerage firm as a personal piggy bank. They also claim that they have been exposed to years of abuse and abuse.
According to sources, the cousins are now on good terms and some have seen them dancing together at a recent wedding in Great Neck.
It is difficult to determine the exact source of Empire Capital funding. Most of their money comes from wealthy families and the wealthy, according to sources, and they are not in a hurry to return quickly. This gives Empire Capital more time to complete office planning while at the same time gaining access to better, cheaper sources of funding. (On 345 Seventh Avenue, Hariri and Ramani secured a $ 70 million loan from Benefit Street Partners).
One of their visible partners is Igal Namdar, a fellow contrarian. Namda Realty, I am buying class B and C malls cheaply. He currently owns or manages over 57 million square feet of commercial real estate nationwide.
So far, the only known problem assets in Ramani and Hariri are 430 Broome Street, SoHo’s residential and retail building. Bixby Bridge Capital, which purchased Empire’s loan from Sterling National Bank, claims that Empire has taken out a $ 8.1 million loan by default and is seeking foreclosure. The foreclosure proceeding is still pending.
“We would appreciate it if you could work with us to resolve this issue,” Josh Ramani emailed the Sterling National Bank in a proceeding filed in the New York Supreme Court in 2021. “Retail was closed by the government for a year, but we were still carrying it. Do it right next to us.”
People near Rahmani and Khalil explained to Think Empire, an online terminal for commercial real estate data similar to PropertyShark, that they are full entrepreneurs with businesses such as the independent pharmacy business Prime Essentials Rx. .. Rahmani said last year that ThinkEmpire will be integrated and released with his advisory business.
“We are creating things like Yahoo Finance for real estate, Moody’s for valuing bank and sponsor positions / portfolios, and digital exchanges like Coinbase for CRE,” Rahmani said in court. I mentioned in the email in the submission.
Meanwhile, in the real estate industry, recent acquisitions have been the focus of attention.
Rahmani and Khalili paid only $ 615 per square foot for their sixth property in 1330, but their assets compared to $ 770 paid by RXR in 2006 or $ 950 or more paid by Macklowe. In class Serious question mark on it.. Their plans for the property are not clear, but their overall ambitions and hustle and bustle are certainly clear.
“We are preparing for an acquisition with a new partner,” Rahmani said in an email filed last year as part of the proceedings. “God is willing to buy over $ 1 billion in this market.”