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Plan for $7.5 billion Kushner family New York tower faces hurdles: report

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The family-owned company that until recently was headed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law hopes to turn an aging New York office tower into a signature development that could be worth up to $12 billion, a report said on Wednesday.

Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group is in advanced talks to provide as much as half of $2.5 billion in equity for the planned redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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The overall project for the flagship 39-story building, which is controlled by Kushner Cos, is valued at $7.5 billion. The company was run by Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka. He sold his stake to a family trust in January.

Extensive talks are under way between Kushner Cos., its partners in the building, potential investors, lenders and tenants who would have to be paid to move for the project to go forward, the Journal said, citing people close to the deal.

Plans call for stripping the structure down to its steel columns and adding about 40 floors to the building, which was built in 1957. The project was designed by Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Prize award winner for architecture, before she died last year.

Concerns about a conflict of interest given Jared Kushner’s role as an advisor to Trump could halt Anbang from taking part. Anbang last week said it was not investing in the project after Bloomberg News named the firm as a potential investor.

Kushner Cos believes it could gain the necessary equity from other investors if Anbang decides to exit the transaction, the Journal said. The project faces other hurdles.

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The Kushners would have to buy out the building’s current tenants to allow for domolition to start and an existing $1.15 billion in debt would need to be refinanced.

Talks are under way with Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that owns 49.5 percent of the building’s office space and much of the property’s retail space, to buy out its interests, the Journal said.

The need to sell the luxury condo units at near record prices and the overall financing for the project could raise the eyes of the U.S regulators, a banking source said.

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(Reporting by Herbert Lash)


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Internet buries Meghan McCain for ‘rude and condescending’ Twitter attack on critics of her ‘The View’ antics

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On Saturday morning "The View" co-host Meghan McCain snapped back at some of her online critics who complained about her observations and demeanor on the popular ABC show -- which was not received very well as one might expect.

According to conservative commentator -- who also is the daughter of the late Sen. John McCain -- wrote:  "It’s called “The View”... I am paid to give another view. If you’re deeply triggered by a diversity of opinions and want to watch a show where everyone just sits around agreeing with one another on everything, feel free to find a show called “The Same”...."

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2020 Election

At Joe Biden’s eleventh-hour rally in Nevada, many union members remain uncommitted

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On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has referred to himself as "middle-class Joe," had a last-minute chance to connect with middle-class Nevada voters before Saturday's caucuses. At a barbecue with burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream sandwiches, attendees that included firefighters and iron workers gathered for what was advertised as a precinct captain training — or to simply hear Biden's pitch. Indeed, many attendees of the barbecue were still undecided a mere day before caucusing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump’s NSC is ignoring intelligence reports and basing policy on handouts of Trump’s tweets: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, members of the National Security Council under Donald Trump no longer uses their extensive knowledge of international relations, politics, and history to formulate foreign policy security proposals for the president's review -- and are instead using the president's tweets to make policy based upon his desires and social media proclamations.

The report begins with noting that council members are often handed printouts of the president's tweets when they convene and are expected to use his words as their guide to formulate proposals that will likely find favor with the president.

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