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Sam Boraie teams up with Shaquille O’Neil to redevelop Newark

Sam Boraie is the executive vice president of Boraie Development, New Jersey’s largest and most prominent real estate development firm. In his leadership role, Boraie has taken on a flurry of exciting new projects that promise to transform cities throughout the state from decrepit wastelands into thriving, 21st century economic engines. You can visit Crunchbase for more details.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Boraie’s efforts to transform the long stagnant city of Newark, New Jersey. Boraie first saw the potential of the downtown Newark area in the mid-2000s. His firm, led by his father, had completely transformed the downtown area in New Brunswick, New Jersey, by placing high-risk bets on the economic vitality and potential of that city when no one else would. In New Brunswick, those bets paid off huge, as the city transformed from forgotten slum into one of the state’s most sought-after zip codes.

The younger Boraie thought that the same trick could be pulled off in Newark, only on an even larger scale. But there were serious problems. As in New Brunswick, the conventional wisdom held that investing in dilapidated downtown centers in largely black-occupied cities was a sure loser. No one would finance his proposed projects. Sam went from bank to bank, sometimes getting laughed out of meetings with lenders. But then he heard through the grapevine that one of Newark’s most famous sons may be willing to step up to the plate where no one else dared to swing.

Shaquille O’Neil long fostered a reputation for being a stand up player off the court, as he was on it. O’Neil had invested considerable sums of his own personal wealth over the years in various redevelopment projects around his home town of Newark, with little expectation of return. He was someone who was truly passionate about the revitalization of his home town, even if it meant forgoing profits.

Boraie contacted O’Neil and the two immediately hit it off. With a shared vision, they completed their first joint project, Citiplex 12 movie theater. From there, the ambitious duo vowed to take on a 26-story apartment complex, the first high rise built in Newark in over 50 years. Check out Bloomberg for more details about the company.

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