The Real Deal New York

Kushner hunting for $600M-plus loan to build BK resi tower

Developer and partners CIM and LIVWRK are interviewing brokers to lead search for construction financing at 85 Jay: sources
By Mark Maurer and Danielle Balbi | October 23, 2017 02:55PM

Parking lot at 85 Jay Street, CIM’s Shaul Kuba (Credit: Getty Images) and Jared Kushner

The Kushners once again have their hand out for the funding of a major project.

Kushner Companies and its partners CIM Group and LIVWRK are beginning their search for a large construction loan for their 737-unit residential project at 85 Jay Street in Dumbo, The Real Deal has learned.

The developers are currently interviewing several brokers to lead the hunt for the financing of their 21-story, 874,000-square-foot luxury building on the old Jehovah’s Witnesses site in Dumbo, for which they paid $345 million last year, according to sources familiar with the talks. The size of the prospective loan is in the range of $600 million and $650 million, sources added.

That would equate to roughly 55 to 60 percent of the total construction cost, which Kushner pegged at $1.1 billion in a recent news release.

CIM tends to handle financing deals in-house, and may still have a role in brokering this one, a source said.

Representatives for Kushner and LIVWRK declined to comment, and CIM did not respond to a request for comment.

The firms obtained a $187 million loan from Criterion Real Estate Capital to close on the purchase of the parking lot site late last year. The 135,000-square-foot development site came with 1.1 million square feet in as-of-right development rights. They then filed plans in late August for the 250-foot structure, which will also boast more than 60,000 square feet of commercial space and be designed by Morris Adjmi. It is unclear if 85 Jay will house rentals, condominiums or both.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has begun its public review of potential cleanup at the site, which is contaminated with lead. The developers would need to remove the contamination in order to break ground.

The financing search comes during a turbulent time for the Kushner clan, which has been scrambling to find investors for its troubled trophy office tower 666 Fifth Avenue. The building has mounting debts, and a new agreement with its lenders could result in the family firm losing the property altogether. In addition, Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steve Roth has reportedly been telling brokers that Kushner’s ambitious plan to redevelop the tower is off the table.

Kushner, which is also redeveloping the Watchtower complex in Dumbo into offices and retail, is battling multiple tenant lawsuits and is facing government scrutiny into the business dealings of Jared Kushner, its former CEO and current White House adviser.