Kushner Real Estate Project Still Seeking First Chinese Investor
(Bloomberg) -- A real-estate project linked to U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s family hasn’t attracted any early financial commitments after investor presentations in four different Chinese cities, an organizer said.
About 50 people attended a presentation Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in the southeastern city of Guangzhou that was sponsored by QWOS Group, an immigration consulting company focusing on special visa programs. Similar events in Beijing and Shanghai last week generated controversy after Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, invoked his work for President Donald Trump, his father-in-law.
Du Guanchao, general manager assistant with QWOS Group, which also is called Qiaowai in Chinese, said so far no Chinese had committed funds to the project in New Jersey after the four presentations. He added that it’s too soon to see any investments, and that people in southern China care more about hard facts related to the project rather than the brand name.
James Yolles, a spokesman for Kushner Cos. with Risa Heller Communications, declined to comment.
Kushner Cos., which is raising money for the development, apologized after Meyer mentioned her brother’s White House role and showed a photograph of the president while seeking to raise as much as $150 million in Beijing and Shanghai last weekend. The company said the mention was merely to note that her brother had moved into government, adding that its representatives wouldn’t attend other planned events in China.
Kushner Cos. is seeking funds for One Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, as part of a program that could also help Chinese investors win residency visas in the U.S. It has faced political opposition in its host city, where it wants public financing. WeWork, a co-working office start-up, was originally going to be a tenant. It later decided against the arrangement and is also expected to sell its stake in the project.
In Guangzhou on Sunday, a reporter for Bloomberg was turned away at the entrance by a receptionist who said media representatives were not allowed to attend. The company has also held an event in Shenzhen.
One middle-aged woman who spent two hours at the information session said organizers didn’t mention the fact that Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law, but she already knew it and said it also didn’t matter to her.
The woman, who only gave her surname Zhou, said she has attended several other sessions that promote access to visas in exchange for investments and this one did not have any advantages over the others.
Another woman in her 30s said the publicity surrounding the project made it less appealing as a potential investment, but she said the main drawback was that the Kushner project featured only rental units and no apartments for sale.
The woman, who gave her name as Wang, said she was mainly attracted to the event by the prospect of seeing one of the Kushners.
"The relation definitely got the project a lot of attention," Wang said. "I came here really wanting to see one of the Kushners, and I was disappointed that they didn’t come."
Du said few people in China know about Kushner Cos. He said the two companies also worked together on a project in 2013 that he described as having been very successful.
Jared Kushner, who resigned from the Kushner Cos. in January to be an adviser to Trump, has divested ownership in many projects to close relatives, and has vowed to avoid discussions on renewing the visa program his sister touted. That program is known as EB-5 and allows foreigners to obtain visas by investing at least $500,000 in a project promising to create jobs.
The day before last week’s presentation, Trump, who ran on a promise to curb immigration, extended the program when he signed a budget bill. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a long-time opponent of the EB-5 Visa program, said the conflict of interest for President Trump and Kushner shows the need to end the U.S. visa program for high-dollar international investors.