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Kevork Hovnanian

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Kevork_Hovnanian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png Kevork Hovnanian Mars symbol.svg
Birthplace Kirkuk
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Birth date 1923
Resides in New Jersey
Death date 2009/09/24
Death year 2009
Languages Armenian, English
Ethnicities Armenian
Dialects Western Armenian
Spouses Sirwart (Emily)
Children Sossie Najarian, Esto Barry, Lucy Kalian, Nadia Rodriguez, Ara Hovnanian
Relatives Hirair Hovnanian, Jirair Hovnanian, Vahak Hovananian

Top ten homebuilder in USA. Born in 1923 in Kirkuk, Iraq, died on September 24, 2009 at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, NY. Founder/Chairman of the Board/Director at Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. Red Bank, New Jersey. Founded in 1967, CEO until 1997. At the time of his death, K. Hovnanian was the 6th largest homebuilder in the United States.


Son of Stepan K. Hovnanian. Married to Sirvart Hovnanian. An Armenian who had developed a large road construction company in Iraq, Kevork Hovnanian was forced to flee the country in 1959 when the Baathist party overthrew the government.

When Hovnanian arrived in New Jersey with his family. He eventually started a home construction company with his three brothers (Hirair, Jirair, Vahak) committed to building affordable townhouses and condominiums for first-time buyers. Each put $1,000 into the company, and they secured a $20,000 loan. His brothers left the business in 1969, each starting his own company. He has served as Chairman of the Board since its original incorporation in 1967. He served as Chief Executive Officer from 1967 through July 1997.

In 1983, Hovnanian was ready to take his fledgling company public. That’s when Mike and Drexel Burnham Lambert underwrote the company’s initial public offering. In ensuing years, Drexel issued subordinated notes, commerical paper and common stock that put Hovnanian on the road to becoming one of America’s largest home builders.

At the time of his death, the NY Times wrote about him:

Mr. Hovnanian was among the developers who transformed the shape of suburbia in the 1970s and 1980s by building inexpensive town houses and condominiums for young families who were first-time buyers.

Even among competitors, he gained a reputation as a builder of bare-bones homes who kept prices low. In the early 1980s, for example, the typical Hovnanian condominium residence was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling that cost about $30,000. In his developments, Mr. Hovnanian kept prices down by omitting the amenities, like swimming pools and community buildings, that other builders used to attract buyers.

“There are limited recreation facilities going in because people have little time for socialization,” Mr. Hovnanian told The New York Times in 1983, explaining his philosophy.

By 1989, his company had sold more than 30,000 condominiums and other residences in states stretching from New Hampshire to Florida. The projects were so popular that they sometimes sold out over a weekend. Mr. Hovnanian also operated a finance company that made loans to buyers, who sometimes bought more than one residence, including some as investments.

Since then, the company has built more than 200,000 other homes. And in recent years, it has expanded its portfolio to include the construction of medium-price homes, luxury homes and retirement communities with recreational facilities.

Under the leadership of Kevork and his son, Ara, Hovnanian Enterprises has expanded its portfolio to include single-family homes ranging from $70,000 to nearly $1 million. The company builds has extended its original Northeast market to include California, Washington, D.C., North and South Carolina, Texas and Florida. Over the past 40 years, Hovnanian Enterprises has helped hundreds of thousands of families enjoy new homes, and currently employs nearly 3,500 people.

Kevork Hovnanian had four daughters, Sossie Najarian, Esto Barry and Lucy Kalian, all of Rumson, N.J., and Nadia Rodriguez, of Boston; and 13 grandchildren at the time of his death.

K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

January 23, 2006


Kevork Hovnanian, chairman of the Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF) and the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), recently made a significant donation to the Jersey Shore University medical Center to benefit the institution's children's hospital, now renamed the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital.

Hovnanian and his wife Sirvart were honored at the hospital on January 6, 2006. Their gift was the largest the hospital has received in its 101-year history.

Hovnanian is also the founder of Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., one of the nation's largest homebuilders.

"Although we are a nationwide company, our roots and our hearts remain here in Monmouth and Ocean counties, where our business first began, and where we make our home," Kevork Hovnanian said. "We are extremely proud and pleased to be part of such an important and meaningful endeavor -- one which will continue to benefit children today, tomorrow and for many years to come."

Along with their gift to the hospital in Neptune, NJ, the Hovnanians are continuous supporters of the Armenian Church, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), and the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), the Diocesan-affiliated international development organization.

"The Hovnanians know that success brings responsibilities," said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese and president of FAR and ACEF. "And they have never turned away from their responsibility to use the fortune God has granted to them to help others. Whether it is helping homeless children in Armenia, supporting the programs that bring the Armenian faith alive in our parishes, or making donations to vital projects for the community-at-large, the Hovnanians never hesitate to help others."

The K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital is the first state-designated children's hospital in New Jersey's Monmouth and Ocean counties. It offers a full spectrum of pediatric specialties to the area, including a child-centered trauma unit.

Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. was created in 1959. The company, headquartered in Red Bank, NJ, is one of the nation's largest homebuilders with operations in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan.

-- 1/23/06


  • 1999 - Mr. Hovnanian joined Thomas Edison and George Gallup, among others, on the list of the "25 Top New Jersey Business Leaders of the Century."
  • 1999 - The New Jersey Council of Christians and Jews named him Man of the Year and, in recognition of his assistance to earthquake victims in Armenia, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America named him Man of the Year.
  • 1997 - K. Hovnanian Companies was named the only national winner of the prestigious, merit-based National Housing Quality Award by the National Association of Homebuilders.
  • 1996 - the New Jersey Institute of Technology award for "Distinguished Achievement to an Outstanding Entrepreneur".
  • 1992 - granted one of five nationwide Harvard Dively Awards for Leadership in Corporate Public Initiatives.