Brooklyn Heights

Jehovah’s Witnesses reach $700M handshake deal for Brooklyn Heights plot

April 13, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have made a $700 million deal for their properties at 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights and 85 Jay St. in DUMBO. Photo courtesy of Jehovah’s Witnesses
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There’s big news about the Watchtower’s Brooklyn Heights headquarters and massive development site at 85 Jay St. in DUMBO.

According to a New York Post article published on Wednesday, the Witnesses “appear to have achieved a handshake” deal with Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen and LIVWRK for their 733,000-square-foot world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and their 1.1-million square-foot as-of-right development site at 85 Jay St.

The pricing for the two properties is about $700 million.

Contracts for the two properties have been issued, but none have been signed yet.

According to the Post, in 2013, the buyers purchased 1.2 million square feet in Dumbo Heights for $375 million from the Witnesses and have since leased some of that space to companies like WeWork and Etsy.

The properties have piqued interest from both local and international bidders.

The Post is also reporting that veteran real estate broker Bob Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield is managing the sale for the Witnesses.

“In order to honor our confidentiality agreements, we are not at liberty to provide details on the status of the sale of 25 Columbia Heights, 85 Jay Street, and 124 Columbia Heights at this time,” a Watchtower spokesman told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The Witnesses, who have been a staple of Brooklyn Heights since 1908, are selling their Brooklyn properties in preparation for their move upstate to Warwick, N.Y., where their new headquarters is nearing completion.

The Brooklyn Heights headquarters was built in the 1920s and was formerly a Squibb Pharmaceuticals drug manufacturing plant. The Witnesses have owned it since the 1960s. The building offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and East River bridges.

In December, the Eagle reported that the two properties, plus a third at 124 Columbia Heights, could sell for a combined $1.2 billion.

The Brooklyn Heights building for sale at 124 Columbia Heights is a 10-story, 152,000-square-foot residential property located on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

With hordes of tech startups recently moving to Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn and with several companies eyeing Brooklyn waterfront properties, it may only be a matter of time before the iconic red neon “Watchtower” sign is swapped out for a navy-blue “Facebook” one.


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