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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

— Think of the most difficult thing you can remember about being a teenager.

Chances are it wasn’t “fleeing a war raging in your home country.”

But when Ali Farzaneh was 14, he had to do just that. His family sent him from his native Iran to Norman, to live with his older brothers and quite possibly to save his life.

Arriving in Oklahoma as a teenager flipped Farzaneh’s life upside down and set him on the path where he finds himself today, as homebuilder, designer and founder, in 2005, of First Oklahoma Construction Inc.

Farzaneh, his brothers and his father have made their family name synonymous with homebuilding in central Oklahoma. But, Ali said, that wasn’t exactly the plan in the beginning.

“My brothers wanted to open a grocery store,” Farzaneh said.

When they applied for a loan, the bank officer asked if they knew anything about grocery stores. They didn't. So they didn’t qualify.

But the bank officer, in times of looser lending, asked what they did know about.

“They told him about our father’s success as a builder back home in Iran, and the officer changed his tune,” Farzaneh said. “My brothers left that day with a construction loan instead.”

The older brothers, Jalal and Mohammed Farzaneh, took that loan and grew it into Home Creations, one of the largest home construction firms in Oklahoma. Beginning with “office work, filing, everything,” teenage Ali learned his brothers’ business from the ground up.

Their father, Jafar, eventually moved to the United States as well, founding Best Homes, which he operated until his retirement three years ago.

Two other Farzaneh brothers also are active builders: Saeed, the owner of Florida Construction in Norman; and Amir, the founder of AMF Homes in Norman, who is also an attorney.

Ali Farzaneh, whose projects span the metro area from Norman in the south to the Montague addition in northwest Oklahoma City, said that his houses in the Summit Lakes Villas addition — off Alameda Street just east of 24th Avenue Northeast in Norman — were especially popular in 2013, and so far this year.

Summit Lakes Villas was “dead for a while,” Farzaneh said, known primarily for duplex and four-plex construction, but his company found new interest when it began to develop odd-shaped and zero-lot-line sites with custom single-family designs.

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