Ezat Delijani, a real estate developer and a leader in Los Angeles’ Iranian Jewish community, died on Saturday, Aug. 27 following a long battle with cancer. He was 83.
Born Feb. 24, 1928, in Tehran, Delijani joined his family in the textile business after graduating from Tehran University’s School of Law. He pioneered importing textiles from Japan and became a real estate investor before fleeing Iran during the 1979 revolution.
Following his immigration to Los Angeles with his wife and four children, Delijani founded Delson Investment Co. and gradually built a real estate empire. After initial investments in downtown’s jewelry district and garment district, where he set up shops for immigrant Iranian Jews, Delijani purchased and renovated four historic Broadway movie houses in downtown — the Los Angeles, Palace, State and Tower.
“The investment Ezat Delijani made in the historic area of Broadway brought new life to an area, which was stricken with graffiti and blight. He was a true visionary who cared about the city,” said David Rahimian, a former special assistant to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
In June 2009, the L.A. City Council dedicated the intersection of Seventh Street and Broadway as Ezat Delijani Square, recognizing Delijani’s long-standing downtown revitalization efforts.
Iranian Jewish community members also praised Delijani for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of various causes. Delijani co-founded and was president of the Iranian American Jewish Federation (IAJF), a nonprofit umbrella group, and negotiated the purchase of Hollywood Temple Beth El on behalf of the IAJF in 1999.
“He was single-handedly responsible for negotiating the Temple Beth El synagogue deal for the Federation and was involved with our organization’s leadership for many years,” former IAJF President Solomon Rastegar said. “We were close friends for 70 years or so, and I can tell you he was a very generous man, respected and knew exactly what he was doing in business and for the community.”
Delijani is survived by his wife Nahid; daughter Mehrnaz Khakshouri; sons Michael, Ramin and Shahram; five grandchildren; and three sisters.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, Aug. 31 at Hollywood Temple Beth El in West Hollywood.