Victor Elmaleh, founder of World Wide, dies at 95

Developer had hand in $7B of real estate development

Victor Elmaleh
Victor Elmaleh

Victor Elmaleh, the chairman and founding partner of World Wide Group, died Monday. He was 95.

The Moroccan-born entrepreneur along with his partners developed more than $7 billion of real estate, including Worldwide Plaza on Manhattan’s West Side, City Lights in Long Island City, 71 Broadway, 255 East 74th Street and 300 East 55th Street. Elmaleh emigrated to the United States at the age of six. He worked as an architect until the 1940s, and launched World Wide in 1954 as a distributor of Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi automobiles. World Wide later branched into real estate.

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Elmaleh was also a prolific painter, with 35 art exhibitions, and an accomplished athlete with national titles in both handball and squash.

He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Sono Osato, a former ballet dancer, and sons Niko Elmaleh, executive vice president of World Wide, and Antonio Elmaleh, author . — E.B. Solomont