NEW YORK, April 10 Efforts to breathe new life
into an ageing Manhattan office building that is the flagship
property of the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law
has gained a green light after a partial owner of the building
indicated a willingness to sell.
Steven Roth, chairman and chief executive of Vornado Realty
Trust, said in a letter to the company's shareholders
that there had been "much press" recently about 666 Fifth
Avenue, a 60-year-old building that Vornado owns with the
"This is an ongoing, complex, dynamic, and unpredictable
situation," Roth said in the letter dated April 4.
Vornado has a joint venture in the building with Kushner
Cos, a real estate company whose chief executive until recently
was Jared Kushner, an adviser to Trump who is married to Trump's
daughter Ivanka. Jared sold his interests to a family trust in
Vornado declined to elaborate on Roth's letter, first
reported by the New York Post late on Friday.
"Kushner Cos is in active, ongoing discussions around 666
Fifth Avenue," spokesman James Yolles said in a statement. The
talks are "advanced," he said.
Kushner said two weeks ago it ended talks to redevelop the
39-story building, valued for its proximity to Rockefeller
Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and St. Patrick's Cathedral,
with China's Anbang Insurance Group.
Talks had centered on Anbang providing as much as half of
$2.5 billion in equity in a plan that called for stripping the
building down to its steel columns and adding about 40 floors.
The project was designed by Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Prize
award winner for architecture, before she died last year.
In February, Vornado said in a regulatory filing that the
office segment of the building was under development or not
available for lease, a sign the building was being emptied of
tenants to accommodate a makeover.
Roth's letter showed that Vornado's share of debt in the
office portion of the building was $691 million, which would
value the Kushner's 50.5 percent share at about $705 million.
While Roth said it is a "rare case" when Vornado may be
sellers, he acknowledged since 2012 the real estate investment
trust has increased selling activity four-fold. It executed $5.7
billion in asset sales, resulting in gains of $2.4 billion.
Any redevelopment plan could be hampered by the cost of
buying out tenants with long-term leases or Spanish retailer
Zara's store at the building's foot.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bill Rigby)