Since Jared Kushner went to join the Trump administration in Washington D.C., Kushner Cos. has sold out of high-profile properties in New York City, reverting to purchasing apartment complexes in New Jersey.
The company, headed by Jared’s father Charles Kushner, had been expanding into development project in Brooklyn over the past decade. However, it seems that the Kushner family, at least in the short term, is trying to stick to occupied residential projects that will bring in a steady income while getting rid of expensive developments. Kushner Co. has sold five properties, including the Watchtower building and 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn, for more than $300 million each.
Kushner Cos. has been selling off Brooklyn property since 2017, when they sold 175 Pearl Street to investors, though they still own some buildings in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg. In February, they sold a development site along the Gowanus Canal, claiming that there was political resistance from residents due to the Kushner family connection with President Trump. Meanwhile, the family has worked with Israeli real estate company Psagot Investment House to purchase apartment complexes in Plainsboro and Hackensack, both in New Jersey.
The Kushners have not been strangers to scandal in the past. Charles Kushner has been convicted for witness tampering, when he orchestrated an affair between his brother-in-law and a prostitute after finding out that his family was cooperating with ongoing investigations from then-Attorney General Chris Christie about his political donations. The company has also been sued by tenants of property they own in Maryland, who claim that the Kushners have been trying to evict tenants by adding fees to their rent. In court, when the company was asked to reveal who their investors are, Kushner Cos. asked to change jurisdictions.
Jared was the one who led the expansion into Brooklyn, which was going through a rapid period of gentrification, by working with RFR and Invesco Ltd. to purchase six buildings, including the recently sold 175 Pearl Street, for $375 million. They had previously bought property in New York City – in 2007, they purchased 666 Fifth Avenue for a whopping $1.8 billion – but have been losing millions on the building, which they have been trying and failing to turn around. They had sold off the retail space and brought in Vornado Realty Trust to co-own the offices in 2011, and now have an agreement to buy Vornado’s stake in the building and sell the interest off to Brookfield Asset Management, Inc.
By: Edward Ellenberg
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