White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has a great number of critics from both the right and the left, and he is now seeing another voice of sharp criticism coming from the pages of Architectural Digest — which quotes former real estate partners declaring his plans for 666 Fifth Avenue “not feasible.”
A number of outlets have pointed to the Kushner Companies’ purchase of the prime piece of Manhattan real estate in January 2007 as a disaster. In September, Vanity Fair published a devastating long-read on how the company put up just $500 million of the total $1.8 billion cost before the real-estate market crashed.
The outlet reported how the company has lost $10 million a year on the property after rents to cover interest payments disappeared and the property went underwater. Since then, it has been looking for a big-money investor, possibly in China, to help them out or else the company could be in major financial trouble.
But the Digest reports that Kushner has proposed a $7.5 billion plan to tear down the property and double its height in an effort to construct luxury condos. However, the CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, which owns almost half of the building’s office space, is reportedly underwhelmed by Kushner’s plan.
“There have been rumors in the marketplace—more than rumors—about tearing the building down and doing all manner of fairly grand development schemes,” Vornado Realty Trust CEO and longtime Trump friend Steven Roth said on an earnings call this week. “It’s likely that those are not feasible.”
The outlet reports that, while Kushner has divested from the company, it appears that his White House ties have dried up foreign investment opportunities.
“Chinese and Qatari investors that the company once wooed have backed off to avoid accusations of buying influence, and Jared’s recent status as a person of interest in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election hasn’t helped matters,” the outlet reports.
Kushner Companies has been the source of a great deal of unwanted attention for President Trump’s son-in-law. It was reportedly subpoenaed during the summer over its use of an immigration-for-investment program, which it pitched to Chinese investors.
An ad for the event said, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
The Kushner family later apologized for mentioning the business’s connection to the Trump administration in the pitch.
This week, it was reported that Maryland’s attorney general is investigating the business over allegations of abusive debt collection and disgusting living conditions at several properties owned by one of the company’s affiliates.
Architectural Digest offers a bleak outlook for Kushner’s hopes to save the building, noting that it is far from clear what happens next. “For now, at least, it seems that Jared Kushner’s aspirations to wield power in the executive branch have put the realizations of his real estate ambitions on hold,” the article says.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.