Kushner Cos. in talks to buy out partner in Fifth Ave tower

NEW YORK — The family real estate company once run by White House adviser Jared Kushner is in talks to buy out its partner in a Manhattan skyscraper that has been losing money for years.

Kushner Cos. spokeswoman Christine Taylor said on Tuesday that the real estate developer is negotiating with Vornado Realty Trust for its 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue. Kushner Cos. had sought billions from abroad to raze the 1950’s-era office tower and replace it with a more modern building, but critics said the financing raised conflicts of interest issues with its former CEO in the White House helping to shape foreign policy.

Taylor said she could not comment about whether the Kushners would bring in other partners to buy the Vornado stake, or any other details. Vornado did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The building has been losing money since Jared Kushner bought it for a record $1.8 billion in 2007. About a third of its offices are vacant, and a $1.2 billion mortgage is coming due early next year.

In a conference call with Wall Street financial analysts earlier this month, the publicly traded Vornado said that it wanted out of the building and was ready to sell.

Kushner Cos. had sought financing from a Chinese insurer with ties to the ruling Communist Party early last year, drawing criticism from government ethics experts and Democrats in Congress who worried the Chinese could use any deal as leverage with the Trump administration. The Kushner Cos. also sought money from a South Korean government fund, a French billionaire and a Saudi investor.

Kushner sold his personal interest in the tower, the family’s flagship property and headquarters, before joining the White House as a senior adviser to Trump. Kushner is married to Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

The Kushner Cos. talks with Vornado were earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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