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 FARHI HOLDINGS CORPORATION IN THE NEWS

Publication:  London Free Press
Date Published:  Monday, August 27, 2007
Author:  Jill Ellis-Worthington
       

 CORNER OFFICE: The Merchant of London
 

Bold, outspoken, brash, decisive, acquisitive, aggressive - all these terms have been used to describe Shmuel Farhi, a consummate dealmaker.

But there is much more to this dynamo than real estate.

He's eloquent about preserving history; an adoring father; generous with charities. He has shaken out over $5 million from friends and business contacts for his pet project, Heart to Heart, Dollar for Dollar, for the Ivey Heart Centre.

Raised in a kibbutz in Israel, Farhi was on a flight to the U.S. to make his mark on the world when he met up with Mary Bray, a London realtor, who convinced him to come to Canada. The duo went into business and he immersed himself in the real estate.

Now Farhi owns many properties (a number he declines to disclose) across Ontario, from Geraldton, in northern Ontario to Windsor. He often buys older buildings, renovates them and rents them out to smaller businesses. The first of these was the St. Thomas Courthouse.

Still the trademark for his company, Farhi has recently rejoined the fight to preserve this landmark.

In London, Farhi knows controversy because of disagreements with city hall and strong stands on preserving heritage buildings while maintaining his right to knock down properties he owns and deems unsalvageable, such as the Capitol Theatre.

What some may not realize is part of Farhi Holdings is dedicated to design-and-build projects, specializing in government properties like OPP and RCMP offices - an integral part of Farhi's money-making ventures.

Panning through shots of a recent trip to Jaffa and Tel Aviv in Israel, with his youngest child - Natan who will soon be two - and partner Nicole Laidler, Farhi points out building after building, saying "Now that's history."

"If we don't respect our past, how can we respect our future?" he asks.

Farhi has two older children, from a former relationship: Ben, 17, will attend UWO's King's College in the fall, and Shehnee (15) who is a student at Lucas. Pictures of his family surround him in his corner office, overlooking Victoria Park and Richmond Row.

Admitting, reluctantly, that he's a bit of a workaholic, Farhi names spending time with his family as his favourite non-work past time. Once a chess champion, he still likes a game, but most nights find him walking Lila, the huge dog that guards Farhi's home and office.

Outspoken and not afraid to toot his own horn - Farhi won the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Award in 2004, among others - he's also ready to contribute to the greater good: "It's important for me to do the right thing for myself and the country."


Farhi's office is abundantly decorated with elephants, his personal symbol of power, sports memorabilia, art and sculpture from Asia and the Middle East and pictures of his kids. (KYLE LUNN/Sun Media)




Shmuel Farhi and his guard dog, Lila, can be seen strolling along the city's downtown streets. (KYLE LUNN/Sun Media)





Though Shmuel names his father as his hero, he admits to admiring Alexander's persistence. The senior Farhi worked in insurance, and Shmuel credits Yehuda with grooming him for the business world. The two are pictured together (top) on a poster for Farhi's pet project, Heart to Heart, for the Ivey Heart Center. (KYLE LUNN/Sun Media)

 


 
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Jim Chapman News Hour on AM 980 December 13th, 2010.
 
Video







Ontario Business Awards   CBC Profile   Bell Building   Community Centre CFPL  
Community Centre Rogers   St. Thomas Courthouse   Marina   Capitol Theatre  
Capitol Theatre Spared     
 


Print Publications  

Key building filled in downtown London core.

San Francisco's first season in ECHL a 'wild ride,' says former London Knights assistant.

Farhi, partner purchase two downtown hotels.

Farhi edges closer to building tallest building in city's core.

Farhi unveils $50-million high-rise plan.

Developer gobbles up core properties.

Aquatic redesign costs Windsor $500,00 'WOW' factor appeals to councillors.

Fundraiser for Salthaven no trivial matter

Farhi shoots, scores! Lands California team.

Smaller banners likely to get nod.

Windsor residents tour site of downtown library and aquatic complex.

Windsor hopes to make waves on aquatic centre.

Stay or Go? London City Hall.

Deal gives 700 Bell jobs new lease on life.

$15M in funding for new Windsor pool part of budget.

Healing centre expands with help

Windsor downtown snapped up by Shmuel Farhi

City offered home in Bell Building

Failed bid back to haunt

Developer increases stake in downtown Windsor

Windsor downtown eyed by London developer Shmuel Farhi

Farhi Aquires Market Tower.

Adding shine to the downtown smile.

Shmuel Farhi trucks steel away from outside WFCU Centre

Talking and Wishing Not Enough.

A Man, A Dog and Future Considerations

Restoration a Capitol Idea

London developer eyes downtown core.

Property magnate Farhi buys historic Elm Hurst.

Cooke gets digging on canal.

Cornwall Call Centre

Not bashful about combining old with new in Elgin County courthouse

Farhi shows plans for Elgin courthouse

Fate of historic facility remains up in the air

London entrepreneur dedicated to his community

10 Things

Council buys into Capitol idea

City Mulls Capitol Lifeline

This is one step to bring downtown back

Inching toward a renaissance

Capitol Deal

Lear plant demolition planned

Farhi dials in on Bell

City Lease of Farhi site lauded as a win-win. - London Free Press

YOU welcomes new days.

Farhi offers courthouse to St. Thomas.

Farhi feathers his 'nest' in core.

Farhi gives back to his London.

New police detachment progressing well.

People You Know - London Free Press

Farhi fundraiser hits whopping $3.6M

Around the Town - Heart to Heart Fundraiser.

Farhi puts heart into drive.

Farhi responds for love of father.

Farhi urges faster core plan.

Core's Last Chance.

Developer vows first class.

Farhi does land swap in Windsor.

Arena site 'perfect'.

Mental health body opens new home.

Parking concerns widen.

Shmuel show no snooze, it's theatre.

Downtown is growing.

People You Know - Shmuel Farhi: 45th birthday a big bash.

First class pride.

Mounties move into new home.

150 People who define London.

Around the Town - New CMHC office.

People You Know.

Coast guard office sails as Sarnia storm brews.

Coast guard moving to Northgate.

'It will be grand'.

Former library sold to Farhi for $2.4M

Home run.

Farhi invests in core again.

Former soldier turned real estate developer thrives at restoring aging buildings.

The Profit.

Farhi buys central block.

Developer buys bank tower.

Shmuel Farhi - St. Thomas Developer.

Heritage properties important to Farhi.

Master of the game.

Friend or Foe?



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