Founded perhaps the largest Black real estate company in the country at the time ($20B).
Born poor, tall and geeky, Victor MacFarlane discovered a world he loved and could do well at in real estate development. But after years of unsuccessfully trying to break in to the good ole boys club of real estate funding, legendary black California legislators Willie Brown and Maxine Waters helped him get an initial investment from the giant state pension fund (CALPERS).
MacFarlane ultimately builds a top tier multi-billion dollar real estate development company whose work includes The Time Warner Center in NYC and all of Magic Johnson’s early real estate projects (e.g. Starbucks, movie theaters, etc). But as MacFarlane starts to beat the mainstream players at their game, he faces a vicious hit job and possible indictment. He cuts an unusual deal and gives back money to the state pension fund, cuts ties with them and lowers his profile and thereby avoids indictment.
While he continued to have meaningful success, he never got the opportunity to become a mega real estate giant a la Blackstone or the Related Group. Last year, MacFarlane turned over his company to another entrepreneur (MacFarlane Steps Down, Business Journal, 2022).
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