This is Raffi Cohen’s rags-to-riches story: The Israeli immigrant came to Los Angeles without a penny – but believed that real estate development in rough neighborhoods would be a nifty way to make piles of money. He’s now selling a property about as uncommon as the man who lives in it. Cohen, the principal officer of Galaxy Commercial Holding LLC, has listed his Beverly Hills home for $10.9 million.

The high-profile Cohen began his development career with retail centers and apartment buildings, but graduated to large-scale development in downtown Los Angeles. He saw potential in a rundown area along Figueroa Street and built the 660,000-square-foot twin office towers known as Figueroa Plaza. He also built the Vue, a $175 million, 16-story condo project in downtown San Pedro, and Blu, a 37-unit luxury condo complex in Beverly Hills. In 2007, Galaxy was ranked 10th on the Business Journal’s list of the largest residential developers in Los Angeles County.

Cohen was appointed in 1987 to the Downtown Strategic Plan Advisory Committee – also known as the LA 2000 committee – by then-Mayor Tom Bradley. His career hit a well-publicized snag in the mid-1990s when he lost a deal to build an office project next to Los Angeles City Hall after falling behind on rent and property taxes.

The home he has on the market is a one-of-a-kind circular glass and stainless steel creation by Malibu architect Ed Niles. It has “jetliner views,” according to the listing agents, and has 7,500 square feet of living space built around a center courtyard. The home has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, and is about as minimalist as they come. Sleek lines, limestone floors, and glass, glass, glass.

The listing agents are Linda May, Coldwell Banker, and Drew Fenton, Hilton & Hyland, both Beverly Hills.

Beach Abode

It must be tough to share a name with a famous golfer. Arnold Palmer has listed his Malibu beach home for $7.5 million, and he has probably answered the question “How’s your handicap?” more times than an ancient redwood has rings.

But this Arnold Palmer has worked in the securities industry for almost five decades. He is a senior vice president of the Juda Group division of Sanders Morris Harris in downtown Los Angeles. He began his career with Sutro and Co., helping develop the institutional equity-trading desk. Palmer was chairman of the Oakwood School and the Center for Early Education, and has been a trustee of Pitzer College for 12 years, serving on its investment committee. He and his wife, Patsy, spend weekdays at their Hancock Park home and their son, Dan, works alongside him.


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