China’s largest bank will retain a toehold at Trump Tower as it relocates the bulk of its New York City offices to Sixth Avenue.
The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China – the largest lender by assets in China and, for that matter, the world – will retain one floor for executive offices in the building owned by President Trump’s family, Bloomberg News reported.
Bloomberg didn’t report financial terms of the deal, which could be of interest to government watchdogs. If terms negotiated with the Chinese state-controlled bank were deemed to exceptionally favorable to the Trump Organization, the deal could be viewed as an illegal gift from a foreign government to the president.
Representatives for the Trump Organization and the bank did not respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.
ICBC is the fourth-largest tenant in Trump Tower. With its lease set to expire in October, the bank is planning to withdraw most of its operations – including a bank branch – from the building.
Last September, ICBC inked a 100,000-square foot lease at SL Green Realty’s 1185 Sixth Avenue, as The Real Deal reported at the time.
Concerns were raised soon after Trump’s election that lease negotiations between ICBC and the Trump Organization could violate the “emoluments clause.”
ICBC isn’t the only Chinese company in the neighborhood to come under Trump-related scrutiny recently. Last August, the Trump administration was reportedly considering a government seizure of Chinese conglomerate HNA’s stake in 850 Third Avenue, four blocks from Trump Tower, due to national security concerns.
Ahead of ICBC, Gucci is the biggest tenant at Trump Tower with almost 49,000 square feet, followed by the Trump Corporation at a little more than 42,500 square feet.
The bank signed a 10-year lease in the building in 2008, its first office in New York City [Bloomberg] — Kevin Sun