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Zarah Karapetyan-Broglin believes every building has a story to tell. As vice president of construction for Olympia Development of Michigan, Zarah and her dedicated team oversee the construction of new buildings such as 2715 Woodward, and the revitalization of such beloved historic Detroit buildings as Women’s City Club and the former Hotel Eddystone.

Along with a passion for historic buildings and a strong commitment to revitalization, Zarah’s path to Detroit gives her a particular perspective in helping to build the city’s future in keeping with Olympia Development’s commitment to historic renovation.

Zarah was born in Armenia to well-educated parents who believed strongly in the importance of higher learning. Zarah excelled academically and, as a teenager, earned her bachelor’s degree in water resource engineering from the Armenian Agricultural Academy. 

At age 19, Zarah was offered a scholarship to study for a master’s degree in the United States. She left her family in Armenia and came alone to Athens, Ga. in 1999. She later moved to Virginia, where she earned her Master of Science in water resources engineering from Virginia Tech. After earning her second master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, Zarah accepted a job with construction manager Barton Malow in Charlottesville, Va.

Around this time, Zarah visited downtown Detroit for the first time. 

“I fell in love instantly,” Zarah said. “I’ve always been passionate about historic buildings. Detroit had it all — the variety of the buildings, the condition of the buildings, and of course the amazing architecture that comes with it.”

“My team members all have different backgrounds of construction, architecture and urban planning, which is a great combination. We also work great together — that synergy makes us successful,” Zarah said. “Now working on the buildings that I always thought would be wonderful to work on — that’s a dream come true.”

Learn more about Zarah and the passion she brings to work daily in the video below.