Sam Nazarian

SBE impresario sets his sights big

In an era when terms like “synergy” and “multi-platform” are so overused they’ve practically lost meaning, it is refreshing to meet an individual whose endeavors tangibly apply these heady concepts. Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of SBE Entertainment Group, is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur; he collects collections of very successful businesses and makes them even more successful by incorporating high-concept design principles into his hotel, restaurant, real estate and film production projects. It would be easy to trivialize Nazarian’s visionary accomplishments by saying he “wears many hats” or “has his irons in a lot of fires,” but the essence of his business savvy lies not in his diversification skills or keen eye for the market. The LA native has a transformative imagination and has amassed the resources to look over urban landscapes and inject elements of aesthetics, utility and regenerative energy into homes, businesses and artistic and philanthropic movements.

It would also be easy to dwell on his unsettling youth (he’s in his early 30s… very early 30s). Easy, but unfair. Nazarian has been in the game long enough to know that “what’s hot” doesn’t necessarily translate into “what lasts.” He stays innovative by surrounding himself with “the most cutting-edge, talented people in the industry,” assembling top-notch teams for each of SBE’s operating groups: SBE Hotel Group, SBE Restaurant & Nightlife Groups, SBE Real Estate Group and Element Films. And he partners with other industry visionaries who share his blend of pragmatic and innovative values. World-renowned designer Philippe Starck, for example, has collaborated on such recent projects as LA’s uber-hip Katsuya Restaurant and the SLS Hotel brand  in early 2008.

From a travel perspective, a Nazarian destination is likely to be a hot spot. From the thriving Hyde Lounge and Area nightclubs (among others) in LA to the future redesign of the Sahara Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the SBE dream machine has worked its magic in cities all over the country. Nazarian’s informed and location-friendly approach means his ventures typically fill an industry need in a particular area. He applies this survey-assess-act formula to his work with The Society of Young Philanthropists, an organization that encourages young people to put their talents and resources to use for the good of the community. Nazarian identifies “the opportunity to make a difference” as a driving force behind everything he does. His “why wait?” attitude applies to giving back as much as it does to acting on an instinct that an abandoned commercial space might just make the perfect home for his next condominium project.

–  Adrienne van der Valk

Reading by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Sam Nazarian.

1. Need I say this one is self-directed and independent?

2. A bit of a gambler. Doesn’t know when to fold.

3. A leader who will always go their own way–stubbornly and determinedly. If you want to have any kind of relationship with this person you will need to be going in the same direction as they are, and you will need to be patient.

4. A bit of a temper, but overall not too bad.

5. A talker rather than a listener. Fortunately, they will speak well (and at length).

6. A great dreamer and traveler, but will experience frustration when traveling anywhere they don’t speak the language.

7. Fame and fortune. Some will come from luck and intensity and some will come from sheer determination.

8. An excellent ability to think while speaking. A strong verbal communicator.

9. Great heart with an intensity of love and passion, however quite difficult to be married to. Someone will eventually succeed at that (being married to them).