Isaac Larian, the founder and chief executive of MGA Entertainment, (one of the leading American toy and doll manufacturers) is indeed serious about saving Toys ‘R’ Us from the ultimate bankruptcy fate that it is now headed towards. According to published reports, millions of dollars are being committed to this financial rescue venture including a significant investment from internationally renowned real estate developer Joe Moinian
MGA is known for their Little Tykes and Bratz Dolls.
Last week, Larian announced that he was starting a campaign to raise $1 billion to save the stores after the chain’s decision to close its 735 stores in the US after it could not agree with its creditors on a restructuring plan. The Wayne, New Jersey, company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.
In a surprise move, Larian announced a “Go Fund Me campaign” online, which actually succeeded in generating $21.2 million in donations in three months from almost 20,500 donors, according to a report that appeared in the Seattle Times.
The New York Post reported that one of the core investors is Joe Moinian, who reportedly is planning to invest $100 million in Larian’s campaign to save “Toys R Us”
Over the years, Joe Moinian has established a sterling reputation as a powerhouse New York City real estate developer. The savvy mogul has funded mega real estate projects such as the W New York Downtown Hotel and Residences, and a veritable litany of high profile projects in Los Angeles.
As the founder and CEO of the Moinian Group, Joe Moinian is also known as a beloved and premiere philanthropist.
Among the litany of charitable causes that have been recipients of Moinian’s largesse is the Special Children’s Center located in Lakewood, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. The Center is focused on a multi-faceted service program for children and adults with complex developmental disabilities. Initiated in 1996 by two compassionate teens volunteering their time to provide respite care for families with children with developmental disabilities, the Center has grown over the years as a professional provider of services to over 450 families with children & adults with special needs.
On February 12th of this year, Mr. Moinian was the esteemed guest of honor at the second annual Special Children’s Center gala dinner at the exclusive Gotham Hall in Manhattan. Last year, Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties was chosen as guest of honor.
Speaking about Mr. Moinian’s unwavering dedication to fundraising efforts for the Special Children’s Center, an organization founder said, “About two years ago, Mr. Moinian and his lovely wife approached us at our “Raise the Roof” fundraising event and told us that they wanted to get involved in helping. They first asked us to show them around the Special Children’s Center as they wanted to very much become acquainted with the building, the staff and those people that we serve. After being introduced, they fell in love with everything about the Center and plunged in with alacrity to fundraise for our current needs of an additional building in Lakewood.”
At the time of the dinner, Special Children’s Center organizers said that they are half way toward achieving their goal of raising $10 million to build a 30,000-square-foot addition to its campus.
At Mr. Moinian’s side at the gala fundraiser, showing her love and full throated support for her husband’s charitable endeavors was his wife, Nazee Moinian.
Others in attendance at the fundraiser were real estate titans Jeff Sutton, Joe Cayre, and Stanley Chera. Philanthropists Harry and Alex Adjmi (who are in the forefront of organizing summer fundraisers for the Special Children’s Center), Robert Wolf of Read Property Group, Greystone Company’s Stephen Rosenberg, Gideon Asset Management’s JoJo Chehebar and Treetop Development’s Adam Mermelstein were among those also in attendance.
As the son of a real estate developer, Joe Moinian was born in Teheran to an Iranian Jewish family, the son of Ayoub Moinian and Sara Moinian. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. His brother is real estate developer Morris Moinian, founder of Fortuna Realty Group. His other brother is real estate developer David Moinian, founder of Moin Development Corp.
In 1982, Moinian founded the ladies’ apparel company Billy Jack for Her. In 1990, he founded the Moinian Group to invest in real estate, leveraging his earnings from his apparel company to purchase loft buildings in Manhattan. In 1999, he purchased the art deco 1775 Broadway from Lester Weindling for $130 million. He quickly renovated it wrapping the building in glass.
In 2004, he was an investor, taking a 25% stake, in a group that purchased the 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago for $840 million with partners Lloyd Goldman, Joseph Chetrit, and Jeffrey Feil, eventually changing the name to the Willis Tower in 2009. Between 2005 and 2007, he expanded his portfolio taking advantage of the willingness of banks to lend at the time, financing the transactions with interest-only loans and very little of his own money.
In 2010, he completed the 57 story W New York Downtown Hotel and Residences. Moinian is working to develop a new 66-story, 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) building named 3 Hudson Boulevard in the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. In 2007, Moinian acquired 550 South Hill Street, an International Jewelry Center in Downtown, Los Angeles for $144 million. In 2006, Moinian acquired a 4.5 acre property across the street from Staples Center in Downtown, Los Angeles for $80 million from Anschutz Entertainment Group and then sold it in 2013 for $180 million to Beijing-based property developer Oceanwide Holdings.
By: Jared Evan & Fern Sidman