Tamir Sapir, a Soviet émigré who made his fortune bartering fertilizer and oil in the 1980s and invested in New York City commercial real estate during the recession of the early 1990s — founder of the Sapir Organization — died Friday.
A funeral service for Sapir, who had been in ill health for several years, was held Sunday at Riverside Memorial Chapel. His son Alex Sapir, appointed president and chairman of the family firm in 2006, has long been its public face.
Sapir immigrated to Israel from Tbilisi, Georgia in 1973 at the age of 26, and later settled in Louisville, Ky. and worked as a bus driver. He then relocated to New York, where he reportedly borrowed against his taxi medallion there to get his businesses off the ground.
He founded Zar Realty Management in 1993, buying distressed assets and upgrading them into lucrative commercial properties.
The Sapir Organization counts the controversial 26-story Trump Soho condo-hotel at 246 Spring Street among its major projects, and purchased the Mondrian Soho Hotel, formerly part of the Morgans Hotel Group, for $205 million in June. — Julie Strickland