The Real Deal New York

Charlie Kushner met with Qatari minister to discuss 666 Fifth investment: report

Kushner Companies denies it sought “sovereign funds” for project
March 02, 2018 03:50PM

Charles Kushner, Ali Shareef Al Emadi and the Saint Regis hotel in New York City

Charles Kushner met with Qatar’s minister of finance to make a direct pitch for an investment in the troubled office tower 666 Fifth Avenue, according to a new report.

In a statement to The Real Deal, Kushner Companies denied that the company tried to land Qatari government money. “To be clear, we did not meet with anyone from the Qatari Government to solicit sovereign funds for any of our projects,” a spokesperson said. “To suggest otherwise, is inaccurate and false.”

This is the first reported instance of Kushner Companies talking about an investment with a foreign government official since Jared Kushner joined the White House. According to The Intercept, Charles Kushner met the minister, Ali Sharif Al Emadi in a suite at the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan.

Kushner Companies has been on the hunt for investors to fund the planned conversion of 666 Fifth Avenue, a Midtown office tower, into retail and luxury condos. In early 2017, the company was reportedly close to a deal with Anbang Insurance Group, but the Chinese insurer ultimately backed out. It was also reportedly in talks with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani, one of Qatar’s richest men and a former prime minister, over a potential $500 million investment in the tower. That deal also never materialized.

About a month after the reported meeting between Charles Kushner and Al Emadi, which did not lead to a deal, the U.S. supported an economic blockade by a group of Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, against Qatar. According to CNN, Kushner sided with Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman in the feud, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended Qatar.

Kushner Companies is currently in talks to buy out Vornado Realty Trust’s 49.5-percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue.

On Thursday, TRD’s editorial director Hiten Samtani appeared on CNN to discuss Kushner’s yearslong struggle to refinance the office tower. [Intercept]Konrad Putzier