Kushner Co-Ownership Clouds Leasing Of Brooklyn’s Iconic Watchtower Building

For Jared Kushner, last summer was a whirlwind of deal-making. On the campaign trail, in the weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention, the real estate scion was endeavoring to convince his father-in-law, Donald Trump, to install new advisers. At the same time, as CEO of his family’s namesake company, Kushner was helping negotiate one of the largest real estate deals ever completed in Brooklyn, the purchase of a famed commercial property overlooking the East River.

On both fronts, Kushner prevailed. The first week of August, along with two partner firms, he succeeded in acquiring Brooklyn’s Watchtower complex, owned for decades by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for $340 million. Two weeks later he secured the resignation of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, paving the way for Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to take on senior White House roles.

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, joined by Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump [Photo: Shealah Craighead/The White House Flickr]

Now, after months of design work, the Watchtower complex has opened for leasing, promoted as a world-class technology hub for a world-class tenant. The project includes 25-30 Columbia Heights, which once served as the Witnesses’ headquarters, and three smaller adjoining buildings, all situated at the edge of Dumbo across from Brooklyn Bridge Park. When complete, the development will contain 635,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of retail. Kushner, LIVWRK, and CIM Group—the three firms behind the joint venture—have dubbed the project Panorama, for its striking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline beyond.

Kushner stepped down from his role as CEO of Kushner Companies (now simply “Kushner”) in January, prior to Trump’s inauguration, and has agreed to divest himself of some assets. But he remains the beneficiary of more than 200 family-owned properties across the U.S., including 25-30 Columbia…

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