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DALLAS-With talk these days on the city’s “new entrepreneurial buyers,” a well-subscribed crowd of the Who’s Who in the brokerage community was introduced first-hand to the dealmakers behind the New York City powerhouses, SMA Equities and the Moinian Group.

About 200 attended last night’s invitation-only “martini party” in the Ghostbar on the 38th floor of the W Hotel in Victory, a cosmopolitan setting with a clear view of SMA-Moinian JV’s stake in Downtown Dallas. The high-brow event was a low-key pitch to encourage brokers to bring their deals to the JV’s Downtown properties: Renaissance Tower at 1201 Elm St. and 2100 Ross Ave. Sina Mahfar and Samy Mahfar, principals with SMA Equities, and Daniel Gohari, vice president and director of commercial assets for the Moinian Group, hosted the event, which was orchestrated by its brokerage firm on the ground, CB Richard Ellis.

The Mahfars started to invest in the city five years ago. The Downtown residential population was minimal and the inner core crammed with empty or nearly empty high rises. The city’s rebirth is well under way, with many brokers crediting the new crop of owners like the SMA-Moinian JV with leading the charge.

“We’re becoming a 24-hour city,” Moody Younger, CBRE’s managing director, told the crowd. “And these guys have been visionaries and have had foresight.”

Samy Mahfar says the Downtown traction is particularly evident at SMA’s Republic Center, an office complex at 325 N. St. Paul St. converted to mixed-use. He says Gables Residential started leasing the redeveloped tower in January and 40 of 229 apartments already are filled as the project pushes toward completion.

It was Sina Mahfar who put the JV’s continued investment into perspective, crediting the Moinian Group “for believing and supporting the ever-growing Downtown Dallas.” And, the JV isn’t done–it’s close to closing on yet another piece of Dallas real estate.

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