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‘He was Special:’ Ali Youssefi, Well-Known Sacramento Developer, Dies at 35

SACRAMENTO -- Ali Youssefi, a well-known Sacramento developer, died Saturday after his fight with cancer.

Ali Youssefi (Credit: Sacramento Steps Forward)

At 35, Youssefi's impact and spirit "left an indelible mark," said Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. He was developing living spaces all around midtown. He was helping to build a new performing arts center in Sacramento and, of course, he built the Warehouse Artists Lofts.

The Warehouse Artists Lofts, a midtown Sacramento development with affordable apartments set aside for low-income artists, was so popular a project there were lines down the block to sign up.

"Waited in that line like for a Harry Potter movie, yeah," said Christian Midthun, the drummer of Trophii.

Midthun was one of those first tenants. He said the lofts, with their creative community and built-in room to practice, were game changers.

"It's been incredible. For me as a drummer being able to play any day of the week, it's definitely helped me further my craft," he said.

Youssefi's craft was more than just envisioning new buildings. He also built teams and partnerships.

"I'm not the only person who loves Ali Youssefi," said Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby. "I'm in a long, long line of people who will tell you that he was special and that he made them feel special."

"He just had this Midas touch when it came to people at bringing them together," said Councilman Steve Hansen. "And I think what we lost here isn't just the potential for more affordable housing or to do great projects, it's this whole generation of leadership that he represented."

Youssefi helped keep the Kings in Sacramento. Ranadivé released a statement Saturday after learning of Youssefi's passing:

“My heart aches to learn of Ali’s passing and I offer my deepest sympathy to his wife Azzie and the entire Youssefi family. His passion to make Sacramento a better place for all forever changed the landscape of the city and we are all better for having known him. Ali’s generosity, kindness and warm spirit have left an indelible mark and I'm grateful to have called him a partner. The entire Kings organization joins the city in mourning the loss of an incredible visionary and our thoughts and prayers are with the Youssefi family during this time.”

The city joined together in grieving for a man who did so much and for all the things he will now not be able to do.

"There was kind of a dark cloud last night. We were all kind of grieving together and just being thankful for what he cultivated," Midthun said.