Serbia Approves Contract With Jared Kushner for Hotel Complex

The Serbian government has approved a contract with Jared Kushner on plans to build a luxury hotel on the site of the former defense ministry in Belgrade, putting him directly into business with a European state as his father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, vies to return to the White House.

Mr. Kushner is pursuing the $500 million hotel project in partnership with Richard Grenell. A former Trump administration aide, Mr. Grenell first proposed that U.S. investors attempt to redevelop the long-vacant, bombed-out site of the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defense while Mr. Grenell was still a diplomat, serving as a special envoy to the Balkans.

The deal, which provoked protests in Belgrade on Thursday, is with an affiliate of Mr. Kushner’s Affinity Partners, the three-year-old, $3 billion investment fund backed by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

“The government of Serbia has chosen a reputable American company as a partner in this venture, which will invest in the revitalization of the former Federal Secretariat for National Defense complex,” a Serbian government official said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The complex was bombed in 1999 by NATO forces with the backing of the United States during the war Serbia was then waging with Kosovo. It is now considered a prime undeveloped real-estate site in the middle of a much-changed city, and Mr. Trump himself considered building a hotel on it in 2013.

For Mr. Kushner, who is also planning two luxury hotel projects in neighboring Albania, these deals in the Balkans are among the largest he has made since starting his investment firm.

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