Media & Press Reviews

Zaya Younan: HE BETS ON FRENCH CASTLES

Figaro Magazine April 2019 1 

Zaya Younan tells who wants to hear it: he decided to acquire 25 castles in France within five years. In good logic, as soon as it goes to France, either average twice a month, this Cadet Rousselle from America, 55 years old, dark coat and cigar with lips, has a fad: visit properties for sale in the countryside French. He has already cracked for five homes in Poitou, Maine-et-Loire, the valley of the Loire… Without forgetting the domain of The Fourney Cross that he offered himself just over a year ago: 9 hectares of vines producing a saint-émilion grand cru immediately renamed Château Younan. And that's only the beginning ! Some collect watches, rings, Fabergé eggs… But Zaya Younan already has it all in large numbers (he is one of the most great collectors in the world of these precious objects); and he owns even a Rolls waiting for him in the garage of his house in Malibu! So what could be better than a collection old houses patinated by the time to have a piece of dream, of history and perhaps also of roots ? Its objective is clear: "I want become the biggest owner of castles in the world! "He says on the tone of a Napoleon Bonaparte (his idol) about to leave in conquest. Zaya's dancer is certainly expensive, especially since he has a soft spot for gold leaf gilding. But our man goes rather quickly to work, as Sherry testifies, his wife. "One day he said to me: will go to France to buy a castle. A real estate agent we was waiting at the airport. He took us in several places, at south, north, west ... We have finished in the department of Deux- Sèvres, at the Château du Petit Chêne. A favorite ! Zaya flashed for the beauty of the buildings and the golf built in the heart of the property: in one day, his decision was made. he paid cash! "

A MODEST CHILDHOOD IN IRAN

But beware: our squire of America is far from being a sweet dreamer. He is a businessman advised. In France, he is there to do of business. Its objective: restore at great cost the mansions he buys it to make hotels very top of the line. And make your dream of creating a chain of chateauxhotels as luxurious as luxury hotels Parisians he particularly likes (her favorite is "la" Meurice, as he says with a delicious accent - understand the Meurice Hotel -, where it has his habits). "The French produce the best gastronomy, best wines, the best cognac! The millions of tourists who visit in your country only dream of discover your art of living, your history. I would like to offer everyone world the opportunity to sleep at least once in a lifetime in a French castle! " The big one Maison Younan Collection has already opened at the Priory, near Saumur, after luxurious works by renovation, as well as Beauvois, near Tours. " Look the carpet on the ground, "he tells us. notice in the lobby of this hotel, former property of the Les group Great French stages. " It's here same as at the George V hotel in Paris! And the chandeliers, on the ceiling: each of them cost me 10,000 euros. I do not have ordered 600, for my castles in France and my buildings in United States. "

Zaya Younan's fortune, valued at $2 billion, attests to a certain know-how in terms of business. "I have the gift of transforming what I touch in gold ", he laughs stroking the back of his chair at the freshly redone gilding. To the United States, it’s in real estate that he earns his living, renovating offices and towers that he resells or thereafter rent. A pretty successstory. Especially since at the start, nothing did not predispose the young Zaya, of origin Assyrian, to make a fortune. " I was born into a modest family, Iran, in a bad suburb, he explains. My father was a driver truck. We were nine children and, at home, there was only one bathroom for the whole family. " One day, an American couple from passage engages in conversation with Zaya. The child recounts his origins, his daily life, the bullying he is the subject of his comrades who make fun of this little boy clear-skinned christian who claims speak Aramaic (the language of Christ) and carries a cross around the neck. The American tourist, professor in a Catholic school in Chicago makes him a promise: "If one day you manage to come to United States, I will welcome you in my school and you can continue there your studies for free. "

BELIEVING IN ONE'S DREAMS

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The idea is gaining ground in the head of Zaya who, at 12, multiplies the young jobs to buy his ticket plane to the United States, with nothing blow his plans to his parents. A year later, he had gathered 800 dollars, just enough to buy the only ticket to America that he could afford: a forty-eight flight hours with four long layovers. While he was secretly preparing his modest suitcase - some clothes, a Bible and 25 dollars of money from pocket -, his mother one day entered his room. " What are you doing ? " him she asked. " I leave for America! replied Zaya. I have money, plane ticket, passport and even a visa. "Dejected, her mother had only one last question: "But who will take you to the airport? »A few more days late, Zaya flew away to live her dream American. Good student, he picked up an engineering degree before get hired by General Motors, then get into real estate at Dallas. He became the biggest there office owner! Its motto ? "If one is able to dream, one can also make sure that things arrive. "