Sam Mizrahi (Persian: سام میزراهی or سام مزراحی) is a Canadian real estate developer. He is the developer of The One development at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor streets in Toronto. He started his first condominium project, a 9-story building known as 133 Hazelton Residences, in Toronto in 2011. Three years later, in 2014, he purchased land at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Bloor Street for development of "The One", the tallest residential building in Canada. Mizrahi is the president of a number of corporations, including Mizrahi Developments, Mizrahi Design Build, Mizrahi Inc. and Mizrahi Enterprises Inc. In 2015, he was named the 45th most influential person in Toronto by Toronto Life. Before becoming a developer, Mizrahi founded Dove Cleaners in 1992. The company filed for restructuring in 2007 and became a successful business with over 100 franchises in Greater Toronto.
Early life and career
Mizrahi was born in Tehran in 1971 to Jewish parents, Shamoil and Ziba Mizrahi. His father was a business owner who owned and operated shops in the famous market of Tehran. The family immigrated to Canada in 1977, two years before the Iranian Revolution, when Mizrahi was six years old. Mizrahi grew up in the York Mills and Bayview neighborhoods of Toronto and attended York Mills Collegiate. Mizrahi has never attended post-secondary school and considers himself an entrepreneur.
Mizrahi started his first company while in high school. Known as Unimax, the company imported and sold blank audio and video cassette tapes in Toronto and Montreal. Unimax had $18 million in annual revenue when Mizrahi sold it four years after establishing the company.
In 1992, Mizrahi formed a dry cleaning company known as Dove Cleaners. DoveCorp, as it came to be known in 2004, operated both in retail dry cleaning and commercial linen cleaning. Mizrahi listed the company on the TSX Venture Exchange in 2005 and ran it until 2007, when it filed for restructuring.
He moved back into real estate in 2008, building custom houses in Forest Hill, one of Toronto's most affluent neighbourhoods, which led to him getting into luxury condominium development.
133 Hazelton (Toronto)
A 9-story building of 38 suites (36 according to court documents) at 195 Davenport Road and 131 Hazelton Avenue in Toronto. The project was completed in March 2015. HSBC financed the project at a total cost of $56 million, and revenue was $70 million ($14 million in profit), according to reports from AltusGroup, which monitored the project's progress for the bank.
181 Davenport (Toronto)
A 12-story building of 110 suites at 145 and 185 Davenport Road. As part of its design, 181 Davenport offered condominiums that could be customized by buyers Half of the units were sold within 60 days of being on the market.
1451 Wellington (Ottawa)
1451 Wellington is a 12-storey condominium to be built at 1445 and 1451 Wellington Street in Ottawa. 1451 Wellington is designed by Toronto architectural firm Page and Steele. In 2015, Mizrahi Developments presented their design plans for 1451 Wellington to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In reviewing the design, OMB required that in order for the condominium to stay at 12 storeys tall, the design needed a more landmark appearance. In December 2015, OMB reviewed revised designs for 1451 Wellington and gave the project a green light, citing that the design met the board’s landmark architecture requirement.
Forest Hill Jewish Centre (Toronto)
Mizrahi announced in 2014 that he would build the "biggest newly built synagogue in Toronto in the past 45 years", to be named the Temmy Letner Forest Hill Jewish Centre. The building is a replica of the Great Synagogue in Jasło, Poland, which was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II. A replica of the 11-meter-high Torah ark destroyed by the Nazis was built in Israel and shipped to Canada for the project.
128 Hazelton (Toronto)
A proposed 9-story building of 21 suites, designed by AUDAX Architecture, across the street from 133 Hazelton. It will be the first multi-story condominium project by AUDAX.
The One (Toronto)
Proposed as an 80-story residential skyscraper with multi-level retail at the base, "The One" will be the tallest condominium tower in Canada, according to Mizrahi. Mizrahi paid over $300 million for the land acquisition alone. The total cost for the project is reported to be $1 billion.
Mizrahi hired the London-based Foster and Partners as the design architect, and Core Architects as the local architect. He travelled to London to design the building using an exoskeleton structure. The building's design and height have gone through multiple revisions; most recently, the expensive exoskeleton structure was removed from the tower and limited to the podium of the building.
Apple is expected to be the anchor tenant of The One, and the retail portion of the tower is scheduled to open in 2018.
In June 2016 Khashayar Khavari, son of Iranian fugitive Mahmoud Reza Khavari and his brother in-law filed a lawsuit against Sam Mizrahi. They claimed that because of their $14.2M contribution to purchase land for 181 Davenport and 133 Hazelton, two condo projects that Mizrahi is building, they are also owed stakes in the other projects that Mizrahi’s companies are building including several buildings on Hazelton Avenue, a synagogue, and a 50 percent stake in The One The Statement of Facts for the legal motion says the "Khavaris neither invested in, nor have an interest in, any of these additional developments." They are seeking at least C$105 million ($81 million) in damages. Mizrahi denies their claims to ownership in the additional projects and has filed a countersuit, seeking at least C$50 million for breach of contract, negligence, intimidation, conspiracy to cause economic harm, and defamation, among other grievances. Though Mizrahi had said none of the money from the developments would be distributed until the two properties were finished, he has agreed to write a $7 million cheque to the Khavari family.
The final outcome of the lawsuits are pending in Ontario but there have been two rulings so far. On March 24, 2016, the court dismissed a motion, described as an “attempt to fast track the case”, on the part of the Khavaris to have Mizrahi return shares of five corporations held by Mizrahi, ruling "Khash has transferred all of his rights of ownership in the Shares to MEI (Mizrahi Enterprises Inc.)... Khash has no right with respect to the Shares, other than the right to compel their return after all Liabilities have been satisfied". Most recently, on August 17, 2016, the judge presiding over the legal dispute dismissed the Khavari’s motion for an inspector to be assigned to investigate Mizrahi's finances, awarding Mizrahi’s side with $373,860.25 in costs and writing "... I am further of the view that, in all of the circumstances, it would not be appropriate to appoint an inspector."
Mizrahi is an active supporter of Israel and a member of the UJA, and has managed and participated in the annual Walk With Israel parade in Toronto. Mizrahi also co-chaired the Run With Israel event in 2015. In addition, Mizrahi has co-chaired UJA’s SixPoints Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, an organization that helps guide financial investment in the Jewish community. He is also on the board of directors of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.
Mizrahi is married to Micki Mizrahi. They have two children, a son named Ethan and a daughter named Eden.