All renderings by Woods Bagot
After sitting vacant for over a decade, a large site in Jersey City’s Journal Square will soon be home to two 710-foot towers with over 1,700 units of housing. The Jersey City Planning Board on Tuesday approved Kushner Companies’ controversial One Journal Square project, signaling the beginning of the end of this development saga. The approval came after the city and the developer reached a settlement agreement last October over a lawsuit filed in 2018 against the city by Kushner Companies, run by the family of White House advisor Jared Kushner, that claimed officials stalled the project over “anti-Trump” sentiment.
Left: Photo by David Shankbone on Wikimedia; Right: Rendering by Hayes Davidson for Brookfield Properties
Hoping to start a new chapter for the problem-plagued tower, Brookfield Asset Management has unveiled its plan to overhaul 666 Fifth Avenue. The 41-story Midtown office building will undergo a $400 million overhaul designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, including a new glass exterior, floor-to-ceiling windows, revamped rooftop spaces, and updated mechanical systems, as the Wall Street Journal first reported. And separating itself further from its past, the building’s address will now be 660 Fifth Avenue. New details this way
, Mon, September 24, 2018
Image by Jorbasa Fotografie / Flickr
Recent news of Kushner Companies’ filing of false documents outlining the residential makeup of their buildings in order to get construction permits has prompted a closer look at the practice, which, according to Politico, has been rampant among New York City property owners for years with few consequences. Last month the Department of Buildings fined Kushner Companies $210,000 for repeatedly submitting inaccurate paperwork. Tenant advocacy group Housing Rights Initiative (HRI) will release a report Monday outlining how landlords filed more than 10,000 deceptive PW1s (Plan/Work Applications) in the span of two and a half years.
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237 Henry Street via Google Earth
Kushner Companies, run by the family of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, allegedly falsified construction permits as a way to remove rent-regulated tenants from their New York City buildings, the New York Times reported. The city’s Department of Buildings on Monday fined the Kushner Cos. $210,000 for 42 violations of submitting false applications across 17 buildings. According to a tenant activist organization, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, also falsified documents at three of his properties in Manhattan at 237 Henry Street, 172 Rivington Street and 235 East 27th Street.
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Rendering via Morris Adjmi Architects
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday launched an investigation into allegations of tenant harassment by Kushner Companies at the Austin Nichols House in Williamsburg. The announcement comes on the same day a group of 19 current and former residents of the building are set to file a $10 million lawsuit against the company for creating unlivable conditions from construction noise and dust and pushing them out to make room for condo buyers. The company, run by the family of Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, purchased the 338-unit property at 184 Kent Avenue in 2015, and has since sold or emptied 75 percent of the rent-stabilized apartments, the Associated Press reported.
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Old rendering of One Journal Square via KABR Group
A partnership headed by Charles Kushner filed a lawsuit in federal court in Jersey City Wednesday, blaming the mayor’s “political animus” toward all things Trump–and, therefore, Kushner–for sending the company’s residential complex into default earlier this year. According to the New York Times, the suit claims that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop issued a default against the $900 million development in order to “appease and curry favor with the overwhelmingly anti-Trump constituents of Jersey City.”
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Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Kushner Companies has agreed to purchase the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust for $120 million, nearly wrapping up the drawn-out saga of the problem-plagued condo tower. According to the Wall Street Journal, Vornado said the contract with Kushner is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is conditional and “there can be no assurance that this transaction will be completed.”
Kushner Cos. first purchased the 41-story building in 2007 for a record $1.8 billion, but the economic recession created enormous financial strain for the company. To help restructure the building’s major debt, they brought in Vornado, which purchased the stake in the building for $80 million and the assumption of half the property’s $1.2 billion mortgage in 2011.
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Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Update 4/9/18: Vornado announced on Friday that it reached a “handshake” deal to sell its stake at 666 Fifth Avenue back to the Kushner Cos, according to the New York Times. It remains unclear if the Kushners have found a new partner. Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado, in the filing, said the payment would cover the company’s investment: “The existing loan will be repaid including payment to us of the portion of the debt we hold.”
Kushner Cos. said this week it is in talks to buy the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust, furthering the drama at the 41-story Midtown Manhattan office building, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tower has remained one of Kushner Cos. most financially troubled projects. In addition to its debt and high rates of vacancy, the building has been mired in controversy, mostly due to Jared Kushner’s role as a senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump. While Jared divested in the property to avoid conflicts of interest, investors have been reluctant from entering a deal with Kushner Cos.
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170-174 East Second Street, where Kushner filed false permits, photo via Google Maps
Update 3/22/18: The Daily News reports that the Department of Buildings is investigating more than 12 properties where Kushner Companies is said to have filed false paperwork in relation to rent-regulated tenants. Kushner Cos. has denied the allegations and said yesterday they are the victims of “politically motivated attacks.”
Controversies continue to pile up for Kushner Companies, the Manhattan development firm led by Jared Kushner until he left last year for the White House. Besides the major financial troubles of their office tower 666 Fifth Avenue, the firm was caught routinely filing false paperwork with the city, “declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds,” according to the AP. Housing Rights Initiative, a New York tenants’ rights watchdog, compiled the work permit application documents. Aaron Carr, the founder, called the act “bare-faced greed,” adding that “the fact that the company was falsifying all these applications with the government shows a sordid attempt to avert accountability and get a rapid return on its investment.”
It happened at least 80 times
A previous rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
Instead of the 41-story Midtown tower becoming an 80-story office building with hotel rooms and luxury housing, 666 Fifth Avenue will now get a much more simple upgrade. According to Bloomberg, Vornado Realty Trust, the project’s partner alongside Kushner Companies, told brokers the property will remain an office building, with“mundane” renovations planned. As one of the most financially troubled developments for Kushner Cos., the Fifth Ave project has been losing money since its purchase was first coordinated by Jared Kushner, currently a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, in 2007.
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