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Family brings homebuilding skills from Iran to Oklahoma

Ali Farzaneh, his brothers and his father have made their family name synonymous with homebuilding in central Oklahoma.
By Tim Fall, For The Oklahoman Modified: March 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm •  Published: March 1, 2014

“I have some raving fans for customers,” Farzaneh said of the garden homes, many with lake views, marketed primarily to “empty nesters or downsizing baby boomers.”

Among the empty nesters, count Jim and Beth Myers. The couple took possession of their First Oklahoma-built Summit Lakes Villas home in December 2012.

After discovering Norman soon after the turn of the millenium when their daughters were students at the University of Oklahoma, the Myerses made it their home after Jim retired from Durant Distributing Corp. in Denver in 2007.

They settled at first in the Royal Oaks addition, but found "exactly the right size" in Farzaneh's design, with the gated community and other neighborhood features "just the kind of thing we were looking for," Jim Myers said.

“I really listen to what retirees are asking for in a home, and make it work for them,” Farzaneh said.

Three of his “low maintenance,” one-level patio homes in Summit Lakes Villas — three of the 30 he built in 2013 — are closing immediately, Farzaneh said.

This year, Farzaneh said he expects “about a 25 percent increase” in the number of custom and model homes he’ll build.

He said he was “honored” that First Oklahoma Construction was named a finalist, out of more that 400 participating companies, in the Best Overall Company and Best Community Impact categories at the 2014 Business Excellence Awards.

Farzaneh’s recognition in the Best Community Impact category was for offering to install free storm shelters in his custom homes after the May 2013 tornadoes. Last year Farzaneh was named a finalist for Best Customer Service in the awards, sponsored by ActionCOACH business coaching firm.

Now with a firm foothold in Oklahoma, he said, the extended Farzaneh family has earned “about 30” degrees from OU. And it won’t stop there. His daughter Mercedeh is an OU student, and though he said he’s not certain whether she’ll go into the family business, she could: She’s majoring in interior design.