Israeli-Russian billionaire Boris Kuzinez purchased a 12-story commercial building at 260 Fifth Avenue for $59 million, his third buy on the block within the last year, city records show.
Renaissance Properties was the seller. The founder of the Moscow-based Rose Group (formerly RGI), Kuzinez acquired the trio of adjacent properties, which in addition to 260 Fifth Avenue includes a mixed-use building at 264 Fifth Avenue and commercial building at 262 Fifth Avenue, for a combined $101.8 million in what appears to be a major assemblage play. In December, the Department of Buildings approved Kuzinez’s application to demolish 262 Fifth Avenue, but no other development plans have been filed. The three Fifth Avenue properties together hold nearly 100,000 buildable square feet.
Kuzinez’s real estate career has been a checkered one. The investor, who is credited as the principal luxury developer behind the “Golden Mile” — think of it as Moscow’s version of Billionaires’ Row — was sued in a British court five years ago by an investor with a 22 percent stake in Rose Group. The minority owner, Peter Shura, alleged that Kuzinez engaged in nepotism, bribery and used Rose Group, a publicly-traded company, as his “personal bank,” according to U.K. paper the Telegraph. Kuzinez as CEO of the firm in 2011, and according to Russian paper Kommersant, sold his shares for $136.6 million in 2013. He currently operates an Israeli education products company called the Kidum Group.
In 2011, the Israeli publication Globes reported that Kuzinez was demolishing the seaside home that he had purchased for about $21 million just two years prior, so that he could build “Israel’s most luxurious house.” According to his bio on the Rose Group website, Kuzinez immigrated to Israel from Latvia in 1971, and later moved to Moscow in the 1990s, where he founded the real estate development firm.
Other projects in the neighborhood of 260 Fifth include 212 Fifth Avenue, a 48-unit condominium project being developed by Madison Equities and Building and Land Technologies.