He’s the Don of Dumbo!
Donald Trump’s son-in-law and right-hand man Jared Kushner on Tuesday closed a long-rumored $345-million deal to buy a city-block-sized vacant at Jay and Front streets, adding what will likely become a massive luxury housing complex to the developer’s already substantial portfolio of property in the nabe.
Kushner and his business partners purchased the highly coveted land at 85 Jay St. from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have long used it as a parking lot for church members but are now moving their entire operation upstate.
The religious outfit convinced the city to rezone the land for housing back in 2004 but never ended up building anything, and now Kusher and his associates can erect several towers containing around a thousand high-end residential units on the site with no need for city approval or to include affordable housing — although one real-estate expert predicts at least part of the space will end up as retail.
“There will be a very large amount of great retail and residential,” said Chris Havens, a broker at Terra CRG. “What you’ll probably see is a supermarket, a lot of small retail, a lot of parking.”
The deal cements the neighborhood’s status as the new Trump Village — Kushner purchased the Witnesses’ old “Watchtower” printing plants for $373 million in 2013, which he has since turned into a hip office complex, and in August he snapped up the religious group’s old Columbia Heights headquarters for $345 million.
Jed and David Walentas of Two Trees Management basically invented Dumbo in its current form as a hub of high-end housing and high-tech offices, and Havens says Kushner is now following their footsteps as he expands the neighborhood.
“The reason Dumbo worked is because you could live and work there,” he said.
Kushner is married to future First Daughter Ivanka Trump and is one of the Donald’s closest advisors, serving on the reality-television-star-turned-leader-of-the-free-world’s transition team and gunning for a formal role in his administration.
And one local leader says she just hopes Dumbo’s new real-estate overlord uses his political clout to help spruce up the area — particularly by convincing the city’s Department of Transportation to restore its historic cobblestone streets.
“It would be great if he could put pressure on DOT to restore these streets,” said Doreen Gallo, the president of local civic group the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance. “Hopefully he will see the value of his buildings will go up if the streets are restored.”