George Xu was born and spent his formative years in China. At the age of 16, he immigrated to the United States with his family. He attended high school on Manhattan's Lower East Side and received his Bachelor in Science degree double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He also received his Master's degree in Computer Science from the same institution.
Throughout his high school and college years, George worked part time after school and on weekends as well as during school breaks by performing painting and house/apartment
remodeling jobs to financially assist his family. George yearned for success, but never dreamed that one day he would be a successful real estate developer.
After working as a software developer for a few years, George decided on a career change. He ventured into real estate development with his brother Chris Xu, who is a well-known local real estate developer. This new career path offered George a renewed energy and challenge, and he became passionate about it. He has a unique sense of the market which enables him to develop a keen and accurate analysis of his undertakings which has translated into great profitable projects for himself and his partners.
George is lucky enough to have married his first love from high school, QiLi Li, who is an established OBGYN physician right here in Flushing. They have three beautiful children - Megan who is 21 and twin boys Mark and Matthew, age 18. He is a busy guy juggling a bustling career and fulfilling family life.
As founder and President of Century Development Group, a real estate development company based in Flushing, Mr. George Xu, with over 20 years of real estate holding and development experience, has worked on over a million square feet of real estate developments; mixed-use developments including residential, hospitality, office, and retail. He has also worked in all phases of his projects - from assembly, acquisition, finance, design, construction, to marketing and sales. Mr. Xu's projects have also involved close collaboration with the City of New York, as well as the State of New York on issues including zoning, land use, and environmental matters.
In recent years, Mr. George Xu has expanded his business to include the EB5 international investor's immigration program. George is also the founder and the principal of the Century New York City Regional Center (CNYCRC), based in Flushing. He provides the crucial marketing oversight and policy guidance for the Regional Center's operations. Even in this fiercely competitive and challenging market, George and his quality team's diligent efforts have prevailed. Mr. George Xu and his team have successfully finished raising capital for three of his projects and are well on the way with his 5th and 6th projects by recruiting EB5 investors from China and other parts of the world.
George has received myriad honors. He was a recipient of the "Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business" award In June 2017 in NYC and an honoree at the Flushing Town Hall 38th Annual Gala in April 2017 and was featured at the Asian Real Estate Professional Association (AREPA)'s annual distinguished speaker event in September 2017 in New York City.
George was also invited as a featured guest speaker for the Asian American Bar Association of New York's (AABANY) "Building A Taller Flushing, Zoning, Air Rights & Development" event held in Flushing in December 2017 and the Chase Exclusive Real Estate Event held in Flushing in October 2017. He was invited multiple times as an expert panelist at the The Asian
Real Estate Association of America's (AREAA) annual meeting such as "East Meets West" and other related events.
George holds the position of President of the New York Chinese Business Association (NYCBA) and is an advisory board member of the Asian Real Estate Professional Association (AREPA).
An active promoter of Chinese culture, George strongly encourages, promotes and supports Asian candidates running for public office and is very involved with community activities and is actively working to establish meaningful relationships for future collaboration with various organizations, both locally and abroad. He regularly organizes and attends fundraising events for local politicians and senior citizen centers.
The recognition for George's work has been extensive: he has been interviewed, mentioned and featured in mainstream media such as the New York Post, The Real Deal Magazine, CRAIN's New York Business, Wall Street Media (WSM), New York YIMBY, and The Deal and Dealmakers weekly real estate newspaper as well as local Chinese media entities such
as Sinovision, the World Journal, China Press and TodayFocus. George has also been featured in the Mirror magazine in November 2016.
George was recently interviewed for a book which is being written by Professor Tarry Hum, Chairman of the Department of Urban Studies at Queens College in September 2017.
Remaining loyal to the guiding principles of quality, value and integrity, Mr. George Xu has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill his mission of creating value for his investors, partners, and the neighborhood and community which he serves.
Maria Odysseos is currently the Vice President/ District Manager for the Queens Market of Investors Bank. She oversees 8 branches in the Queens District , with newest branch that was opened in Forest Hills. Her responsibilities include managing, growing and developing business in the Queens Market. Maria initially began her banking career 32 years ago with Independence Community Bank as a teller and has worked her way up to the position she holds today.
As a District Manager Maria possesses boundless passion and enthusiasm for serving people in her community. She is a wonderful role model for her team and a person who willingly donates her time and energy to local non for profits groups.
Besides her responsibilities at the bank, Maria also sits on the Board of Director for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. She also co-Chairs the chambers Non for profit committee. Over the past years she has been recognized by several organizations for her dedicated work in the communities she serves. She was named Top Women in Business in 2015, Maria was recognized by the Panpaphian Association of NY, in 2016 for her service in the Queens Community, she was the Honoree " Chef of the Year" for the Queens Center for Progress, NFP in 2018, and was awarded the Power Women in New York in 2020. Maria has built a strong career in banking and she encourages women to continue to grow and achieve success in any industry they choose.
Born and raised in Queens, Maria received her B.S degree in management from St. John's University. She currently resides in Bayside with her husband Odysseas, a Real Estate Broker and her two sons
Christos, EFA Consultant with Deloitte and Andreas, a recent graduate from Queens College.
Senior Vice President
Zara Realty Holding Corporation
Jay Sobhraj was born in Guyana in 1948. He is one of 10 siblings and the son of a rice farmer. Jay Sobhraj currently is the Senior Vice President of Zara Realty, leading operations and renovations across the company's apartment buildings. After spending 14 years working as a professional engineer in Guyana and Abu Dhabi, Jay co-founded Zara Realty with his two brothers Ken and George, bringing his expertise in engineering, field operations, and leadership that fostered lasting relationships to the helm of the company.
Jay knows what truly drives success: it's how well you communicate, show respect, and learn from others. Jay unofficially formed The Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Foundation in 2007, and officially registered it in 2018 He built a team of professionals to envision, plan, and execute projects to further support educational programs in a variety of neighborhoods.
Over the course of the last decade, the foundation has established ten state of the art computer centers and four libraries. All of the libraries along with seven of the computer centers are located in his native country of Guyana with the remaining computer centers located in NYC. Additionally, the foundation has partnered with various governmental organizations to provide free computer training to thousands of students.
The foundation has also provided scholarships and specialized test preparation courses to students in both Guyana and New York. In addition to the educational support, the foundation has also donated sports equipment to the Guyana Police Force and other local community-based organizations in an effort spearhead community wellness. Jay is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in the United Kingdom. He holds a diploma of Mechanical and Production Engineering from Polytechnic of Central London and a diploma of Mechanical Engineering from Middlesex Polytechnic of Central London, England.
Jay is married to his best friend, Sylvia, of 43 years. He is the proud father of Amir, Zarah, Anurag, and Manisha, and grandfather to Niam and Naina. He is consistently able to make a witty remark, tell a funny story, make everyone laugh, and finds the humor and joy in everyday life.
Zara Realty Holding Corporation
George Subraj, the fourth son of Shobhraj and Tatri of Bel Air, Georgetown, Guyana, left the shores of the Caribbean in 1971 having borrowed $850 from relatives. Settling in with friends in New York City he began a rigorous regime of work and study. After years of toil at various jobs and committed hours of study he was promoted and transferred as an electrical appliance salesman in Queens, New York.
Sharpening his skills as salesman walking from door to door, office to office, George's only difficulty was finding clean and safe housing in the violent, aggressive neighborhood. Whenever the apartment was clean it was over-priced and whenever it was affordable it was unsafe, deadly. Ironically, a 44-apartment building was up for sale in Jamaica, Queens and with the financial assistance of two of his brothers, and now executive partners, Ken Subraj and Jay Sobhraj, they began the ZARA empire in 1981-2. To date the business boasts almost 60-apartment and condo complexes located in Queens and Nassau County in New York.
Today his adage of clean, safe, comfortable and affordable housing has literally transformed the rental market with Zara housing tenants for more than 25 years. From one generation to another they continue to live under his magnanimous care and protection.
As a philanthropist, George always felt that good giving is divine. Under the umbrella organization Guyana Watch and as Vice-President, George's years of humanitarian commitment stretches back to the early 90s. But it was not until April, 2008, that his name became a household word when he pioneered Guyana's First Kidney Transplant with a team of doctors from Walter Reed Army Medical Centre of Washington, DC, saving the life of a seventeen-year-old boy, Munesh Mangal.
He has since helped innumerable other individuals and groups in his giant strides of philanthropy especially targeting the poor and less fortunate. He has donated the Zara state-of-the-art computer training center at the Saraswattie Vidya Niketan Secondary School, Guyana; furnished the hall of the Laxmi Narayan temples in Orlando; this is apart from the fact that he has also installed elevators at the other Laxmi Narayan, Liberty Avenue and Prem Bhakti Mandirs, Queens. Along with his brothers Ken and Jay they have also installed similar computer centers at the Cove and John Ashram, Guyana, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School and at the American Sevashram Sangha among many other contributions and donations.
Similarly, the medical and business community showered George with rich accolades when he introduced pediatric heart surgeries to his native homeland, Guyana, saving the lives of eight children, whose parents were unable to raise the huge sum for the same surgery overseas. All of this he has done as the President of Zara saying quite simply "Good giving is divine. The good Lord has given me more than I actually need for happy living so giving back to the poor and disadvantaged is my way of thanking God."
George Subraj passed away in November 2016. Since then, his family and friends have been working hard to honor his memory by continuing philanthropic work in his name.
Executive Vice President
Zara Realty Holding Corporation
Growing up,Ken Subraj was surrounded by economic hardships. His parents and extended family were poor and struggled to meet their basic needs. Born in British Guiana, Ken is the eldest son of a farming family of 10 children. At the age of 15, out of sheer helplessness, his father advised him to embark on an educational journey that will prove crucial in shaping the remaining course of his life.
Ken enrolled at the Government Technical Institute (GTI). At GTI, Ken proved himself to be a voracious learner who made rapid progress, both as a student and apprentice in sandwich courses for the next four years. Earning just under four dollars per week as a trainee, he sat the exam, and earned a First Class pass.
Ken would then travel to England to pursue his studies, his pregnant wife left behind as he battled difficult circumstances. Finding a job was no easy task but Ken persisted until he was employed and had the means to support himself. Ken wasted no time: he again started studying, this time to earn his Ordinary National Certificate, before reading for two degrees simultaneously: Mechanical and Production Engineering, all while still studying to earn his Higher National Certificate.
Ken would continue to dedicate his time to studying. After 6 years, he graduated, earning the Bronze Medal in Mechanical Engineering, in 1967. With degrees in hand, Ken returned to Guyana and quickly rose to the upper echelons of his industry, sitting on the same chair as his former English manager at the Ministry of Public Works, Hydraulic Division.
In 1970, he joined the Guyana Bauxite Company as Project Engineer.
Ken, his wife, and two sons would eventually emigrate to England. As a part-time consultant, he applied for his dream job in the oil rich region of the Middle East. With his years of valuable experience and prestigious engineering degrees, Ken's application was promptly accepted, and he was hired as the Plant Manager at one of the largest construction companies of the Arabian Gulf -Consolidated Construction Company (CCC).
Ken began working first in Oman on several road projects including the Nizwa-Thamarit Highway, also known as the Longest Road, which extended from the North to the South of the country.
Before long, Ken Subraj was being referred to as "King of the Road".
Ken then moved to Saudi Arabia where he worked on the longest and largest oil pipeline in the kingdom at the time. He would then play a crucial part in the construction of a seven-storied liquified natural gas plant, the largest in the country.
Finally, in 1996, after toiling for 20 long and arduous years in the Middle East, Ken Subraj would resign his exceptional career that centered on spearheading multi-million-dollar engineering projects.
In 1982, Ken traveled to the United States with two of his younger brothers, George Subraj and Jay Sobhraj. Together, they founded Zara Realty Holding Corporation.
Today, after almost 40 years, the brothers have grown Zara Realty into a reputable, community-centered, family-owned apartment rental business with 47 multifamily apartment buildings spanning Queens and Long Island.
Currently, the brothers are in the process of constructing their first 223-unit building from the ground up.
Zara Realty directly employs over 300 office and field workers and supports a network of local businesses that, taken together, provides sustenance for thousands of workers.
The brothers also continue to undertake various humanitarian projects, focusing on making the most impact in the fields of education and healthcare.