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Holy moley! Witnesses selling coveted Dumbo block

Now you see it: The Watchtower headquarters — sporting the iconic red neon sign — is on the market. Will the sign survive?
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The Jehovah’s Witnesses has put a long sought-after vacant Dumbo lot on the market, and its broker says this is one real-estate opportunity that won’t come knocking again.

“It’s probably the last opportunity like this in the Dumbo area in my lifetime,” said Richard Devine of Watchtower Real Estate.

The religious organization is selling off its block-sized parking lot at 85 Jay St. — a subway-adjacent blank canvas in the borough’s wealthiest nabe that real estate moguls have coveted for years, as first reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Devine refused to say what the asking price is, but “a lot” is a safe guess — a developer could build a housing high-rise of up to 21 stories on the empty lot at Front Street.

The Christmas-eschewing church convinced the city to rezone the land for residential use in 2004despite massive community opposition — so it could build four large towers there, though it never went through with the plan.

The religious outfit is also offering up its iconic Columbia Heights headquarters — the one with the red neon “Watchtower” sign — and a 10-story residential building nearby.

The giant nerve center covers two blocks, but is only zoned for manufacturing use right now.

It will be up to the new owner whether or not to keep the building’s iconic sign, which has been informing locals of the time and temperature for more than 40 years — a Brooklyn Paper poll found 76 percent of respondents want it to stay.

The Witnesses has been selling off much of its Dumbo and Heights real estate since 2010, after deciding to relocate its operation upstate by 2017.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.
Sale of a lifetime: Watchtower Realty announced it will sell 85 Jay St., along with two other properties, on Dec. 3. The block-wide lot is currently a parking lot.
Photo by Louise Wateridge

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