Jared Kushner and family company sell stakes in old Witnesses properties - Brooklyn Paper

Jared Kushner and family company sell stakes in old Witnesses properties

That’s a lot: Jared Kushner just bought this massive parking lot at 85 Jay St. in Dumbo.
Associated Press / Seth Wenig

He kushed out.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner unloaded his stakes in two yuge Brooklyn developments — the old Watchtower complex in Brooklyn Heights, which is being transformed in to a high-end office complex, and a ground-up luxury tower in nearby Dumbo — according to a rep for the firm that bought him out.

“We confirm that Kushner Companies and its affiliates have divested all of their interests in the projects located at 25-30 Columbia Heights and 85-95 Jay Street in Brooklyn last month,” said Bill Mendel, a rep for CIM Group, which together with Kushner’s family firm and developer Livwrk purchased both properties from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2016.

Kushner stepped down as the chief executive of his family’s Kushner Companies last January — after his wife’s father was sworn in as Commander-in-Chief — and handed over operations to his father Charles, but reportedly held on to his personal stakes in assets including the Jay Street property and the Witnesses old headquarters.

And months after he abdicated his perch atop his family firm, Kushner Companies, Livwrk, and CIM Group rebranded their ownership collective as Columbia Heights Associates, which a rep at the time said was not an attempt to distance the Kushner name from the Dumbo and Watchtower developments, the latter of which the owners rechristened as Panorama when they debuted their own new moniker.

Now, CIM Group and Livwrk will develop the projects on their own, according to Mendel, who said the Kushner family firm, which reportedly only held a 2.5-percent stake in each project, wants to concentrate on its larger developments.

Jared Kushner.
Associated Press / Susan Walsh

“The partners agreed to monetize Kushner Companies’s small minority interests as it focuses its attention and resources on projects where it holds substantial ownership interests,” he said.

A Kushner Companies spokeswoman declined to comment on why it sold its shares in the developments or how much cash it raked in — some of which likely went right into the first son-in-law’s pockets because of the personal stakes he kept in them after stepping down.

The family firm’s payday, however, could have been around $17 million, according to the New York Post’s initial report about the sale of its stakes in the properties — a modest sum compared to the $345 million and $340 million that the Columbia Heights Associates triumvirate paid for the Jay Street and Watchtower sites respectively.

Kushner Companies and another partner also recently sold a massive lot on Third Street in Gowanus, within the part of the neighborhood officials want to rezone to make way for more residential and other developments, after the local Councilman Brad Lander publicly promised he would refuse to back any such zoning initiative if it helped the family turn a profit.

But the Kushner family hasn’t abandoned the Borough of Kings altogether — it still owns two Brooklyn Heights apartments at Sidney Place and Hicks Street, where tenants last year sued the company for allegedly skirting rent-stabilization laws.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Sold: Kushner Companies sold its stake in the old Watchtower complex, which its new owners are transforming into a swanky office space called Panorama.
Columbia Heights Associates

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