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Kushner family ‘likely to be bailed out by Qatari government-linked company’ after years-long failure to sell 666 Fifth Avenue

Jared Kushner’s family is reportedly tapping Brookfield Properties to help its struggles with the under-performing 666 Fifth Avenue. Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is his point man in the Middle East. One of Brookfield’s major investors is the Qatari government

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 2:04am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 3:05am

A company linked to the Qatari government looks set to bail out White House adviser Jared Kushner’s family after they have spent years struggling to sell a stake in their flagship New York property, it has been reported.

Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, is in “advanced talks” with Brookfield Properties to create a partnership that will take over the 41-storey tower at 666 Fifth Avenue, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing two unidentified property agents who had knowledge of the deal but were not authorised to discuss it.

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Brookfield is based in Canada, but the publicly traded company has the Qatari government as one of its major investors, the paper reported.

Brookfield Properties and the Kushner Companies have been contacted for comment.

Charles Kushner bought 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for US$1.8 billion, grabbing headlines for paying what was then the highest price ever for a single commercial property in the United States. 

But since then the property has struggled to live up to its high profile, with occupancy at only 70 per cent and income from the building only covering half its annual mortgage payments, the Times reported. 

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Jared Kushner officially left The Kushner Companies when he became a top adviser to US President Donald Trump, although he retained most of his stake in the company. Some assets, including 666 Fifth Avenue, were placed into a trust run by his mother.

Since then, Kushner has become Trump’s point man in the Middle East, with the president assigning him to reach peace in the region.

The Kushners have been trying to offload, or otherwise mitigate losses from, 666 Fifth Avenue for years.

They had previously made a deal with the troubled Chinese holding company Anbang and the Qatari billionaire Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani to demolish the building and replace it with a US$7.5 billion luxury tower.

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That plan raised concern over whether Jared Kushner’s White House role and his proximity to the president – who is also his father-in-law – might have helped grease the wheels for the deal, particularly as Anbang had close ties to the Chinese government.

The deal fell through in June 2017, the same month Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was arrested in a Chinese anticorruption drive for raising money over the limits prescribed by law and other crimes.

At the start of 2018, the Chinese government took over Anbang and Wu was prosecuted. On May 10 he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

If the deal with Brookfield goes ahead, Charles Kushner will buy out Vornado Realty Trust, which owns 49.5 per cent of 666 Fifth Avenue, paying them US$120 million to cover a US$80 million loan high-interest loan he took out from them six years ago, the Times reported.

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He and Brookfield will then refurbish the property – something Vornado was uninterested in pursuing – although Vornado will retain control of the building’s retail space, the Times said.