Chinese firm and Kushner family end talks over NYC tower

The Manhattan tower is owned by the family of Mr Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law. The possible US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) deal for the Manhattan office tower would have paired a firm led by a man who married the granddaughter of China's late paramou
The Manhattan tower is owned by the family of Mr Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law.

NEW YORK • A Chinese company with ownership ties to some of the Communist Party's leading families has ended talks to invest billions of dollars in a Manhattan office tower owned by the family of Mr Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House aide.

The Chinese financial conglomerate, Anbang Insurance Group, and Kushner Companies "mutually agreed to end talks regarding the property", a Kushner Companies spokesman said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

The development came days after Democratic lawmakers wrote letters to the Office of White House Counsel and the Treasury Secretary, expressing concern that the possible deal could breach federal ethics rules, and as Mr Trump is preparing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for their first summit at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The possible US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) deal between the two companies, first reported by The New York Times in January, would have paired a firm led by a man who married the granddaughter of China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping with the family company of Mr Kushner, a principal White House adviser on foreign affairs, including China policy.

Any deal faced headwinds on both sides of the Pacific.

The Manhattan tower is owned by the family of Mr Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law. The possible US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) deal for the Manhattan office tower would have paired a firm led by a man who married the granddaughter of China's late paramou
The possible US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) deal for the Manhattan office tower would have paired a firm led by a man who married the granddaughter of China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping with the family company of Mr Kushner, a principal White House adviser on foreign affairs, including China policy. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

In the United States, it was subject to increasing scrutiny by lawmakers, who also called on the government committee that reviews overseas investment to scrutinise the agreement for possible national security issues.

In China, government regulators are trying to stanch the loss of foreign exchange reserves and are wary of signing off on multibillion-dollar deals in industries, such as commercial real estate, not deemed to have strategic value.

Plans for the redevelopment, which envisioned gutting the ageing 41-storey office tower and erecting a 74-storey glass- sheathed tower with luxury residences, a hotel and retail spaces designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, will now require a new investor.

"Kushner Companies remains in active, advanced negotiations around 666 5th Avenue with a number of potential investors," the company spokesman said in a statement.

A spokesman for Anbang declined to comment.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese firm and Kushner family end talks over NYC tower'. Print Edition | Subscribe