May 17, 2018 / 7:16 PM / 2 years ago

Brookfield in talks to acquire stake in Kushner-owned Manhattan tower: source

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brookfield Property Partners (BPY.O) is in talks to acquire a stake in a Manhattan office tower majority-owned by a company that was previously run by Jared Kushner, son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, a source familiar with a potential deal said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: The building at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Kushner Companies, rises above pedestrians in New York, NY, U.S., March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Brookfield, one of the world’s largest real estate companies, would oversee the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41-storey tower controlled by Kushner Companies, the source said.

The building has been in the news since Trump became president because of potential conflicts of interest. Jared Kushner stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies in January 2017, when his ownership stake was put in a trust.

Brookfield would oversee a significant redevelopment of the building if a deal was reached, the source said. The Canadian-controlled property owner has executed similar developments in New York and other cities around the world, the source said.

The acquiring entity would be a Brookfield-managed private real estate fund, the source said. The seller was not indicated nor the size of stake to be acquired.

Vornado Realty Trust (VNO.N), one of New York’s largest property owners, said in April it had a “handshake” deal to sell it’s minority stake in the office portion of the tower.

Talks about the redevelopment of the tower, which has $1.215 billion in debt coming due next year, have included Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group and a former Qatari prime minister. One plan called for the tower to be stripped to the bone in a design by Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Prize award winner.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Brookfield has ties to the Qatari government and referenced Brookfield’s massive Manhattan West project in which the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, is a major partner.

QIA would not be part of the fund or involved in the potential transaction, the source said. Sources close to QIA said it has no involvement whatsoever in the project.

Brookfield oversees about $160 billion in assets and is controlled by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO).

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Susan Thomas

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