Last week, Kushner Companies was negotiating with Beijing-based Aubang Insurance Group over multi-billion-dollar redevelopment plans that would transform the 41-story, 1.5-million-square-foot office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue into a 1,400-foot-tall mixed-use skyscraper. Kushner Cos. and Aubang have since “mutually agreed to end talks,” the BBC reported early yesterday.
The collapse in talks comes as the sphere of influence over Jared Kushner is being scrutinized, including by five Democratic members of Congress. Earlier this year, Mr. Kushner resigned from his role as chief executive officer at Kushner Cos. to become senior advisor to President Donald J. Trump, his father-in-law. Mr. Kushner sold his personal ownership stake in 666 Fifth Avenue to family members.
Kushner Cos. stated it remains in “advanced negotiations” with multiple other investors, although none have been named. The developer is now looking closely at “a conflict or even a perceived conflict” when meeting with potential partners, according to the New York Post, although it maintains Mr. Kushner is removed enough from the process. A potential deal would have to consider buying out Vornado Realty Trust’s ownership stake and existing tenants, as well as refinancing a $1.2 billion loan. The Post reports two banks are already willing to provide the refinancing funds.
Zaha Hadid Architect’s vision for the project would expand the office building by 40 stories. It would include a nine-story retail base, followed by an 11-story, 94-key seven-star hotel, topped by 464,000 square feet of residential condominiums.