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Younes took the idea to Irvin Jacobs, a University of California at San Diego professor who had founded a company called Qualcomm.Irwin offered Younes a major stake in Qualcomm in exchange for Omninet.S., leading up to the planned opening of SLS Las Vegas and SLS New York in 2014.(He won’t say where in New York he plans to open but has signed a letter of intent on a Midtown property.) Expanding simultaneously in Miami, Las Vegas, and New York during a down economy could be a disastrous miscalculation.In 1996 he persuaded his parents to give him ,000 to invest in a business he started with Melemad, Platinum Wireless.He camped outside the Nextel general manager’s office for seven days straight until he was given the contract to sell phones with Nextel technology.MGM Resorts International Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren, Nazarian’s partner on the Hyde Lounge at Bellagio, calls Nazarian’s expansion plans “an uphill battle, there’s no doubt about that.Las Vegas right now is not for the faint of heart.” Nazarian says that appeals to him. Forget it when people say it’s not going to happen.
“We went to school with Angelina Jolie, with a lot of celebrities’ kids, and he could have been a complete snob, but that’s not Sam.” In high school, Nazarian played basketball and baseball and did odd jobs at his father’s factories.But everything I’ve done, everything I’ve learned, some of it the hard way, it was to get here and do this.” SBE has gone from owning and operating 17 properties in 2010 to 32 today, with an additional 25 in development.The majority of these new ventures are hotels and restaurants, an indication, Nazarian will tell you, of how he and his brand have matured.Nazarian may now be trying to outrun his past, but he insists he doesn’t regret it. “He lost everything when he came to America,” Nazarian says.“He was 49, and I never once heard him talk about what we had, what we lost, what we used to be. Nazarian, his three siblings, his parents, and his uncles and aunts shared three hotel rooms. Tapping funds owed by European companies to his confiscated Iranian businesses, Younes, along with his brother, Parviz, persuaded a bank to lend them million to buy Standard Tool & Die.