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Jehovah’s Witnesses will get big bucks from headquarters sale, New York Post reports

March 9, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Heights headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses is for sale — and likely to fetch a bundle. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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No, wait — the Watchtower’s Brooklyn Heights headquarters is worth a bundle after all.

The office complex at the foot of Columbia Heights with the famous red neon “Watchtower” sign on it is indeed likely to fetch “well over $300 million” when sold, the New York Post is reporting.

In a recent story, the newspaper had cited sources who predicted the headquarters would sell for around $220 million-plus instead of about $300 million, which would have been its price in 2015 “before the economy started rumbling.”

Now sources tell the Post there’s such wide demand for the iconic headquarters — and other property the Watchtower is marketing — that a “winnowing second round” of bidding is expected.

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

This second round of bidding will likely push the headquarters pricing above $300 million, the Post said.

As the Brooklyn Eagle has reported, the religious organization announced this past December that its  more than 733,000-square-foot headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights was for sale, along with two other properties.

At that time, a real estate expert told the Eagle that the trio of offerings could sell for a combined $1.2 billion.

The Brooklyn Heights headquarters was a Squibb Pharmaceuticals drug manufacturing plant, constructed in the 1920s. The Witnesses have owned it since the 1960s. It has jaw-dropping views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

The other properties the Witnesses are selling are in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO:

* Ten-story, 152,000-square-foot 124 Columbia Heights is a residential property located on the Promenade in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. The Witnesses constructed this building on the site of numerous brownstones — including one where Brooklyn Bridge engineer Washington Roebling lived.

He was crippled by the bends, so he supervised bridge construction by watching the work with a telescope from the window of his home.

* DUMBO parking lot 85 Jay St. has nearly 1 million square feet of development rights — and is zoned for residential construction.  

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are selling their Brooklyn holdings to prepare for a move to upstate New York, where their construction of a new headquarters is nearly finished.

The religious organization has been a presence in Brooklyn Heights for a century. The group is considered a careful steward of the properties in its keeping.

The Watchtower has been in the process of selling its Brooklyn real estate portfolio for the past several years — including the Hotel Bossert on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.    

The Post is also reporting that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have hired real estate broker Bob Knakal to assist in their sale of the three properties that are currently available.

Knakal, who has decades of experience selling New York City commercial real estate, is the co-founder of Massey Knakal Realty Services. The firm was acquired in 2015 by global real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

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