Since Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, the firm—led, at the time, by current White House senior adviser Jared Kushner—has been trying to figure out what to do with the property.
At the time, the Kushner clan paid $1.8 billion for the skyscraper, a record price for an office building in New York City. But the deal has proved dicey: Much of the office space within sits unleased, and the building “has not generated enough money to pay its debts for several years, forcing the owners to cover the shortfall — at least $10 million in 2015,” according to a recent New York Times report.
For a few years now, Kushner has been trying to get another developer on board to bring the building out of debt. In 2015, he was reportedly in talks with megadeveloper Steve Roth of Vornado to redevelop 666 Fifth into a 1,400-foot tower designed by Zaha Hadid, though that didn’t pan out. Then, there were rumors that Chinese firm Anbang was on board, which were ultimately quashed.
Now, according to a report from NBC News, the building may prove to be a sticking point in the ongoing Congressional investigation into possible Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Per “two Congressional sources with direct knowledge of the investigation,” if Kushner testifies as part of the inquiry, he’s likely to be asked about a Russian connection to 666 Fifth Avenue; specifically, “whether he tried to set up a secret back channel way of communicating with the Russians so he could find somebody in Moscow to take the 41-story tower at 666 Fifth Ave. off his family's hands,” per NBC News.
In recent weeks, the investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia has shifted focus to President Trump’s son-in-law, who reportedly tried to set up a “secret and secure” back channel to the Russian government, per a Washington Post report. No date has yet been set for Kushner to testify about this possible connection in front of Congress.
A spokesperson for Kushner Companies declined to comment on the NBC News report, and Curbed has reached out to the White House for comment; we’ll update as more information becomes available.