DUMBO

The Jehovah’s Witnesses put 69 Adams St. in DUMBO up for sale

May 16, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Watchtower is selling a DUMBO development site, 69 Adams St., where a residential tower (indicated in orange) could be built. Image courtesy of Jehovah's Witnesses

Tennis, anyone?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have just put onto the sale market a development site in the heart of DUMBO, 69 Adams St.

The building that now occupies the site has a four-story recreational facility and an 84-space parking garage.

Its rooftop is graced with an open-air tennis court — which is topped by a fence so cars and pedestrians down below don’t accidentally get pelted with over-exuberantly hit balls.

The Watchtower recently posted the sale offering online without alerting reporters.

According to the posting, 69 Adams St. is “a 157,410-square-foot development opportunity adjacent to the iconic Manhattan Bridge.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses did not offer any comment about their sale offering to the Brooklyn Eagle when asked about it. They did give the Eagle permission to publish their images of 69 Adams St.

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Zoned for as-of-right residential development

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn’t have any control over what is built at 69 Adams St. because it is located outside the neighborhood’s historic districts.

Because of the site’s zoning, “a new luxury residential tower with commercial, community facility and retail uses” can be built as-of-right, the Watchtower’s online description of the site notes.

The religious organization, which has had a major presence in the area for more than a century, is in the throes of selling off its once enormous property portfolio in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. That’s because the Jehovah’s Witnesses are relocating their headquarters to upstate Warwick, N.Y.

The 69 Adams St. site has 103 feet of Front Street frontage. It’s caddy-corner to upscale food market Foragers, and shares its block with a handsome residential tower, 85 Adams St.

If a residential tower is built at 69 Adams St., it will have views of Lower Manhattan’s skyscrapers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the East River and the Midtown Manhattan skyline.

According to city Finance Department records, the site has belonged to the Watchtower since 1991, when the organization purchased it from LI Machine & Pattern Works Inc.  

Another Watchtower property recently sold for $105 Mil

The Jehovah’s Witnesses began a new round of property offerings this past December. Since then, the organization has closed on the $105 million sale of 124 Columbia Heights, a 10-story residential building on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, to Florida Panthers hockey team owner Vincent Viola, Finance Department records indicate.

Also, the Watchtower has made a handshake deal to sell its Brooklyn Heights headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and a nearly 1 million-square-foot development site at 85 Jay St. in DUMBO for roughly $700 million, the New York Post previously reported. The buyer is Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.     

In addition to 69 Adams St., the other Watchtower property that’s currently available for sale is 107 Columbia Heights, a 154,000-plus square-foot residential property in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

Several other Watchtower properties in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO have not yet been put up for sale.

  

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