An iconic but long-closed Brooklyn Heights hotel will return as high-class resting place for tourists after a nearly three-decade hiatus if developer David Bistricer gets his way.
Montague Street’s Bossert Hotel building will go from housing for visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses to lodging for vacationers under a planned renovation that will turn the landmarked building into an elegant 302-room hotel with a “neighborhood feel,” developers say.
“It’s such a jewel of a hotel, and it’ll bring a restaurant and a roof-top lounge, which I think will be a tremendous asset to the community,” said Kathleen Cudahy, a representative for the builder.
Bistricer is purchasing the property from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, but the cost of the sale remains unclear.
His spokeswoman says its current stewards have kept the building in great shape since they took it over in 1983, but he intends on making some big changes including adding the eatery, the roof-top bar, and 78 new guest rooms.
The plan has won the support of Community Board 2’s land-use and executive committees and will now go before the Board of Standards and Appeals — an obscure but powerful city agency.
Bistricer hopes to begin construction this fall and open to guests late next year with rooms priced at around $250 per night.
Both Brooklyn Heights residents and businesses are eager to see the “Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn” return to America’s first suburb.
“I’m excited — my parents come to visit and they never have a place to stay,” said hotel neighbor Ashley Phyfe.
Joe Secondino, who co-owns the Heights Cafe across the street from the Bossert Hotel, said he hopes an influx of tourists will mean more business.
But some fear a bustling hotel will bring noise and taxi cab traffic to one of the borough’s more quiet neighborhoods — especially when the rooftop lounge opens for business.
“I used to live in Manhattan, and [Brooklyn Heights] is just so much more personal,” said Sandra Kamerman. “It’s been residential and quiet here, but it’s become more and more Manhattan-like.”
The hotel building is the latest major Brooklyn real estate holding sold off by the Watchtower Society, which has thinned its substantial portfolio by dropping a number of properties near its headquarters in DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights over the past decade.