Kushner Cos. is in advanced talks to receive a bailout of its struggling flagship office tower, 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, from Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian firm whose real estate arm, Brookfield Property Partners, is partly owned by Qatar's sovereign investment fund, The New York Times reports. Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, was Kushner Cos. CEO in 2007 when his family company purchased the aluminum-clad 41-story building for a record $1.8 billion, but it has lost money ever since. Today, 30 percent of the building is vacant and it brings in only about half of Kushner Cos. annual mortgage payment.
Kushner gave up control of Kushner Cos. when he joined the White House and divested himself of assets including 666 Fifth Avenue. But his elevation to the White House helped scuttle negotiations with Chinese insurance company Anbang and former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim al-Thani. Kushner Cos. subsequent global search for financing for 666 Fifth Avenue has run into criticism over potential conflicts of interest or foreign influence on a top White House adviser.
Qatar Investment Authority is the second-largest investor in Brookfield Property Partners, after Brookfield Asset Management, but the company said Thursday that "no Qatar-linked entity has any involvement in, investment in, or even knowledge of this potential transaction." The list of investors in the deal "is not possible to independently verify," The Washington Post reports, and the details are not expected to be made public if the deal closes.
If the deal goes through, Brookfield reportedly plans to replace the aluminum exterior with glass, renovate the lobby, and put in new elevators. Kushner Cos. would retain some stake. Peter Weber