Show me the money: A tally of the Watchtower’s Brooklyn property sales

Eye On Real Estate

November 20, 2013 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Hotel Bossert is one of the properties the Jehovah's Witnesses have sold. The Bossert's new owners are planning a renovation.Rendering courtesy of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman + Associates Architects
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As developers set their sights on the Watchtower’s remaining Brooklyn holdings, it’s high time we tallied the group’s recent sales.

More than $500 million has been paid – or promised – for local Jehovah’s Witnesses properties in the past two years, city records and press reports indicate. The transaction tally does not include sales of Watchtower properties before 2012.

Property deeds provide details about who paid how much for what. In DUMBO:

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

* Developer Shelly Listokin bought industrial building 200 Water St. and vacant lots 173 and 177 Front St. as a $30.6 million package. (See related story.)

* A trio of investors – the Kushner Cos., RFR and Invesco – paid $240 million for five industrial buildings the Witnesses built as printing plants for Bibles.


What’s not in city records – but was in announcements and press coverage – is that the industrial buildings are part of a six-building, $375 million package deal that also includes a hotel at 90 Sands St. The buyers are expected to close on the purchase of the hotel when the Witnesses vacate it in 2017.

Here’s the rundown on the five buildings they bought:

* 55 Prospect St.: $64 million

* 81 Prospect St.: $23 million

* 117 Adams St.: $46 million

* 77 Sands St.: $54 million

* 175 Pearl St.: $53 million

Deeds also give the details of Brooklyn Heights deals:

* Apartment building 161 Columbia Heights sold to investors David Schwartz, Alex Friedman and Joshua Marlow for $2.95 million. They later resold the building for $3.95 million to an LLC headed by Jean Daniel Hertzog.

* George Feiger and Anita Driscoll Feiger bought a carriage house at 165 Columbia Heights for $4.1 million – where renovation is ongoing, with construction workers using a tall crane to hoist steel beams onto the property this week.

* Developer David Mitchell paid $6.6 million for 183 Columbia Heights, which he is converting to condos. (See recent story.)

* Richard and Shani Shannon bought apartment house 76 Willow St. for $3.025 million.

* An LLC headed by Andrew Springer bought a brownstone at 105 Willow St. for $3.33 million.

* Georg Reitboeck and Aditi Bagchi paid $2.825 million for a brick row house at 34 Orange St.

* An LLC paid $7.1 million for an apartment house at 50 Orange St.

* Developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit paid $81 million for the Bossert Hotel at 98 Montague, which they are restoring as luxury lodging.

* An LLC managed by Gili Haberberg bought 67 Remsen St., a brownstone that’s next door to the back facade of the Bossert, for $3.25 million.

That adds up to $384.78 million paid to the Witnesses. In addition, Kushner’s cohort is expected to pay the Watchtower the remaining $135 million of its $375 million deal when the purchase of 90 Sands St. closes.

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