Vornado looks to dump Trump

Giant REIT may buy out ex-president’s stake in two buildings

National /
Feb.February 09, 2021 11:00 AM
From left: 555 California Street in San Francisco, Vornado CEO Steven Roth, Donald Trump, 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York (Getty, VNO/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

From left: 555 California Street in San Francisco, Vornado CEO Steven Roth, Donald Trump, 1290 Sixth Avenue in New York (Getty, VNO/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Vornado Realty Trust is seeking to end its partnership with the Trump Organization at two of the former president’s most valuable assets.

Vornado executives have had discussions about buying out the Trump Organization’s 30 percent stake in a Midtown Manhattan office tower and its stake in a property in San Francisco’s financial district that the firms jointly own, the Wall Street Journal reported. A sale for the properties last year fell through and a refinancing was unsuccessful.

Vornado is concerned that investors and potential lenders are staying away from the properties because of the Trump Organization’s ownership, according to the Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

Vornado has even looked at finding a reason to withhold the property’s income from the Trump Organization, according to people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported. This move could ultimately head to court and force a separation, the sources said.

A person close to Vornado CEO Steven Roth said no formal offer has been made. A Vornado spokeswoman said the firm declined to comment on the sale or refinancing efforts.

Roth is a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s and supported the former president even as others distanced themselves from him.

Trump told the Journal in a brief interview that “Vornado has been an excellent partner so far and we expect that to continue.”

The former president declined to comment on whether Vornado had offered to buy out the Trump Organization’s stake in the properties. He said they were “two of the best buildings in this country.”

The properties have provided stable, long-term income to the Trump Organization, which has seen revenue decline during the pandemic and endured backlash from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. A sale could help the Trump Organization pay its more than $400 million in debt coming due.

[WSJ— Keith Larsen


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