Developers replace iconic “Watchtower” sign overlooking Brooklyn Bridge

Developers installed the new “Welcome” sign to lure businesses and visitors to their planned office and retail complex.
Will Femia

It’s a “Welcome” addition!

Builders replaced the iconic “Watchtower” sign that once greeted travelers heading over the Brooklyn Bridge with a new sign that reads “Welcome” on Monday. 

The rooftop marquee sits atop the Jehovah’s Witnesses’s former headquarters turned office-and-retail complex in Brooklyn Heights, where it will salute work-a-day New Yorkers — and, not to mention, potential tenants of the bougie new commercial tower — as they cross the borough’s namesake span, according to a rep for the landlord.

The new Welcome sign that can be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.Photo by Derrick Watterson

“Seen from Lower Manhattan and greeting travelers as they cross the Brooklyn Bridge, ‘Welcome’ embodies the message to our tenants and the entire city that Panorama is a vital part of the transformed Brooklyn waterfront and reinforces the idea that Brooklyn is an inviting place for companies to set up shop,” said the principal of investments at CIM Group Jason Schreiber in a prepared statement.

The new sign was designed by Manhattan firm Morris Adjmi Architects with lettering that resembles the original sign’s neon-red characters, and is illuminated with energy-efficient LED lights. The sign will continue to sport the old alternating time and temperature display above it, according to reps.

Workers tore down the original sign — which formerly graced the Kings County skyline since 1969 — in late 2017. The “Watchtower” sign replaced an earlier sign of the pharmaceutical company ER Squibb and Sons, which constructed most of the campus in the 1920s.

Workers tore down the almost 50-year-old sign in 2017.   Photo by Paul Martinka

The Jehovah’s Witnesses setup shop at the Watchtower building in 1969, and expanded their Brooklyn Heights headquarters several times before selling the property to developers ahead of a move upstate in 2016.

Big Apple developer CIM Group, along with partnering Dumbo-based firm Livwrk, plan to ceremonially light up the new sign on Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of the “Watchtower” sign’s debut.

After the old sign was taken down, Brooklynites were left to wonder for more almost two years whether developers would install a replacement on the building’s rooftop scaffolding, and renderings — including at one time the project’s website  —showed a sign spelling out the development’s name “Panorama.”

City officials ruled in November 2018 that the owners could put their own branding on the sign.