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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Plans for DTLA apartment building include Morad Ben Neman in ownership group

The 7-story project would also include ground-floor retail
By Natalie Hoberman | April 12, 2018 05:30PM

Property at 233 W. Washington Blvd (Google Maps)

The planned construction of a 160-unit residential building in Downtown Los Angeles wouldn’t ordinarily attract much attention. But when developer Morad Ben Neman is part of the ownership group, attention must be paid.

In December, Neman pleaded guilty to federal charges and his Fashion District textile company admitted to laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in purported drug money, according to authorities.

The city is now reviewing plans for the construction on an existing public parking lot at 233 W. Washington Boulevard, according to the Department of City Planning. The multifamily building would rise seven stories, encompassing 24,000 square feet atop a subterranean parking garage. The building’s first floor would be dedicated to retail, according to the filing.

The DTLA site is 30 percent-owned by Grandton LLC, which is registered to Neman, property records show.

The remaining portion is owned by I. Norman Properties and Shirin Nooravi (each with 25 percent), and fashion entrepreneur Albert Elkouby (20 percent). Acting through LLCs, the group jointly purchased the property in 2007 for $7.5 million, records show.

Isaac Norman of Norman Properties confirmed his firm is involved in the project, but added that “Neman is not involved.” Elkouby and Nooravi did not respond to immediate requests for comment. Neman could not be reached.

Neman and his brother, Hersel, could face up to 21 and 28 years in federal prison, respectively, for using their textile company, Pacific Eurotex Corp., to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in purported drug money. Ben Neman pleaded guilty to four counts, including conspiring to defraud the IRS but not to launder money. They have not yet been sentenced.