Charles Kushner Met With Jersey City Mayor To Save Journal Square Project
Charles Kushner met with Mayor Steven Fulop after the latter was re-elected last year to discuss the future of One Journal Square, from which Fulop withdrew support during his campaign, Bloomberg reports. A Kushner Cos. spokeswoman said the mayor withdrew his opposition, and the discussion surrounded incentives. The company expects to break ground sometime this year.
Fulop's office confirmed the meeting, but said in a statement that the mayor "didn't indicate any formal support for the project as there isn't a formal proposal or application to review." Fulop additionally tweeted out a response to the Bloomberg report:
I think our office/comment is 100% clear in the story. Our position has NOT changed +we don’t see support for incentives or abatements from the city for this project. They can legally apply + It’s the council’s vote but as I said to them I suspect it’s DOA https://t.co/i9Xouiqi4m— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) January 24, 2018
Fulop initially came out against One Journal Square after it came to light that Kushner Cos. touted Jared Kushner's connection to the White House in a proposal to potential EB-5 investors in China, setting up conflict of interest concerns that prompted a federal investigation.
After the presentation, WeWork announced that it had pulled its involvement in the project, which included 50% ownership and a large living and incubation space for startups. The lack of financing or city support left the project on life support.
Since then, Kushner and partner KABR Group redrew their plans and retooled the financing approach, with some success on both fronts. A proposal for two 56-story towers on top of a 10-story structure with over 1,500 rental units was unanimously approved by the Jersey City Council in September, and Fortress Investment Group agreed to loan $57M to the project, according to Bloomberg.
The project's financing is incomplete, as WeWork's exit took nearly $60M in public subsidies off the table. A December proposal for One Journal Square reportedly still included $33M of public subsidies. Even with that, Bloomberg estimates that the project is still short of the money it needs to be completed.
Still, the meeting with the mayor and the loan represent tangible good news for Kushner Cos.' project after a year of bad news, and it coincides with founder Charles Kushner's re-emergence as a public figure for the company.