Future of NYC Hadid Tower Uncertain

19. October 2017
Base of 666 Fifth Avenue (Image: Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects)
A tower designed by Zaha Hadid Architects for the Kushner Companies and Vornado Realty Trust at 666 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan appears to be dead.
We first caught a glimpse of ZHA's design in March of this year, when a rendering for a 1,400-foot supertall was revealed. The reportedly $12 billion (!) project seemed unlikely even back then, but now that Vornado, according to Bloomberg, is "telling brokers to plan for a much more mundane renovation that would leave the property as an office building" rather than as a new condo/hotel/retail tower, it's pretty clear the project will not happen as envisioned.

Kushner Companies, formerly headed by Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, bought the tower in 2007 for $1.8 billion, shortly before prices collapsed in the recession. The investment has been losing money ever since, in part because of high vacancy rates (30%) that were part of the move toward demolition and the Hadid-designed replacement. But in early 2019 a $1.2 billion mortgage is due, a payment that appears to be driving co-developer Vornado's decision for a pared-down office conversion.

Although Jared Kushner divested his stake in 666 Fifth and other properties after taking on his role as a White House senior advisor, some reports have speculated that his involvement kept investors away, eventually leading to the Midtown building's current problems.
Existing 666 Fifth Avenue (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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