White House adviser Jared Kushner’s family business has been looking to get out from under the burden of its financially troubled flagship skyscraper for at least as long as most Americans have heard of Kushner. Multiple news reports indicate that help is on the way.
Brookfield Properties, a Canada-based real estate company, is reportedly in talks with Kushner Companies to acquire a major stake in the 666 Fifth Avenue property, two real estate executives briefed on the pending deal told The New York Times.
Kushner Companies is run by Charles Kushner, who purchased the midtown Manhattan building over a decade ago with his son Jared. In January 2017, Jared Kushner resigned as chief executive of the family business to become an adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. He has, however, retained a significant stake in the company.
Roughly a year, two potential deals involving 666 Fifth Avenue fell through ― with Anbang, a giant Chinese insurance company, and with Qatari billionaire Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani ― over concerns about Jared Kushner’s possible conflict of interest between advancing the family business and protecting U.S. interests.
Kushner, who advises the president on Middle East policy among other issues, has reportedly been under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller over his alleged efforts to boost the family company with investors in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Russia and China.
One of Brookfield’s major investors is the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority, according to the Times. But both Brookfield and the Qatar Investment Authority denied that the Qatari government was involved in any such transaction with Kushner Companies.
“No Qatar-linked entity has any involvement in, investment in or even knowledge of this potential transaction. They are in no way involved,” a Brookfield spokesperson told HuffPost on Thursday.
A press representative for the Qatar Investment Authority similarly told HuffPost that it has “no involvement whatsoever in this deal.”
The Kushner Companies declined to comment for this story.
The Kushners purchased 666 Fifth Avenue at the beginning of 2007, right before the economy crashed, for a whopping $1.8 billion. That price amounted to nearly twice as much, per square foot, as a building in Manhattan had ever sold for, according to The Daily Beast. Within a year, the Kushners were $1.4 billion in debt.
The 41-story building has continued to struggle financially, generating only half its annual mortgage payment and remaining roughly 30 percent vacant. If the deal goes through as reported, Brookfield would take over leasing and operations at the skyscraper and embark on major renovations.