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Have a seat in the Standish

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The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, a major landowner in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, has netted a whopping $50 million for the Standish Arms Hotel, a Columbia Heights building that will be turned into luxury rentals, the new owner says.

The building, formerly a residence hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses who worked for the society’s printing and distribution businesses, was bought by Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings last week.

The 12-story building will be converted into about 100 apartments, with two-bedroom units starting at $3,600, one bedrooms from $2,800, and studios at $2,000.

The upper floors have unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan — a selling point, said Patrick McGrath, a managing partner with Taurus’ New York Office.

“That was really what drew us to the property,” he said.

The anticipated rents are comparable to other new properties in the neighborhood, experts said.

“The prices are very fair given the amazing views and the prestige of living in Brooklyn Heights,” said Alice Shevchuk, marketing director for Awaye Realty, the leasing agent for Standish Arms. Shevchuk added that many of the apartments have already been rehabbed and are available now.

The sale of the 1903 hotel is the first step in the Witnesses’ ongoing move away from the Heights, where the sect has had a presence since 1909, when it established printing and distribution operations for its Bible translations.

The 128-unit Beaux-Arts hotel building at 169 Columbia Heights was one of the Witnesses’ 18 Brooklyn Heights properties — and one of six sites that were put on the market earlier this year.

Over the past few years, the Witnesses have been relocating those operations to upstate Walkill.

The purchase of the Standish Arms is Taurus’s first buy in New York — but it won’t be the last, McGrath said.

“We’re excited about making investments in Brooklyn because of its dynamic environment in terms of all the development that is happening now as well as the developments that are planned for the future,” he said. “We think the future of Brooklyn is very bright.”

And if the name of the building sounds familiar, remember that Clark Kent, of Superman fame, was said to have lived in apartment 5H of the Standish Arms Hotel (though that hotel was in Metropolis, not Brooklyn).

Updated 6:18 pm, November 1, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Danny Haszard from Brookyln says:
WOW! The Watchtower is really 'cashing in for the Kingdom'.Armageddon didn't come,now the Jehovah's Witnesses can profit from it.
Dec. 13, 2007, 7:30 pm
Wised Up from upstate NY says:
***The building, formerly a residence hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses who worked for the society’s printing and distribution businesses, was bought by Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings last week.***


This certainly put the CORRECT spin on the organization that claims to speak for God.

Dec. 13, 2007, 8:32 pm
Jimmie Schmidt from Queens says:
They might need the money to settle lawsuits brought by victims of Kingdom Hall pedophiles. You won't see a dime of it go to any Brooklyn Heights charities, either. The WT got tax exemptions from local governments and they get nothing back from the windfall of money the Watchtower Org is raking in from this sale. The old WT President Judge Rutherford warned us back in the 1930's, "religion is a snare and a racket" and the WT org has joined that club.
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:04 pm
Gerald from Queens says:
It only took the geniuses 90 years to figure out that you can make a lot more money flipping real estate at 10s and 100s of millions a pop than you can selling Watchtowers at wholesale rates to distributors who couldn't sell water in a desert.

But at least the JWs are smarter than the Tax Collectors at the city, state, and federal governments. How long will it take them to figure out what's going on? Probably about the time the last building is sold, and the money has been moved off-shore.
Dec. 14, 2007, 1:26 am
MissIMHO from Montgomery, AL says:
Great investment, Taurus Investment, congratulations! You will no doubt make a killing!

I am just wondering if anybody knows how much money WTBTS originally paid for the Standish Hotel when they bought it?

I ask this because I wonder how much money they just made...money that they won't be taxed on because they are a non-profit (LOL) religious organization?
Dec. 14, 2007, 10:52 am
Wised Up from upstate NY says:
Has anyone else ever noticed that when a JW hears of a magnificent Cathedral with stained glass windows and breathtaking architecture---that they view it as "a waste" where they feel the money could have gone elsewhere? JWs never see these as beautiful buldings dedicated to THEIR God.

But when the Watchtower Society pulls off a real estate deal like this, and then builds costly establishments with waterfalls, lush landscaping and imported Italian marble flooring---it is always seen as a blessing from
the Watchtowergod.

I wonder how they explain the difference.
Dec. 14, 2007, 12:23 pm
Brenda Lee from Golden says:
Ever hear of a Watchtower soup kitchen? The Watchtower has become a tax-free multi-million dollar publishing entity that controls and consumes the lives of its members. If Armageddon had bee truly "right around the corner," as they have taught for over 100 years, would they have been investing in real estate?

Brenda Lee, author of "Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman's Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult" www.outofthecocoon.net
Dec. 15, 2007, 10:35 am
Unbelievable from Allofus says:
It's really is unbelievable how so many take unbrage at what the WTB&TS does with the donations they receive. You'd think it was theirs!!??
April 17, 2009, 12:58 pm
neighbor from brooklyn heights says:
The Jehovah's sold it to an amateur company running it into the ground. Tenants move in and out like a homeless shelter and have turned Columbia Heights sidewalk into there private parking lot. The doorman is beyond rude and a male pig. The handyman is dumb/ pathetic and as smart as the company managing the building.

This is the company owning / managing the building into the ground. They know nothing of running a large building. http://www.tiholdings.com/169ColumbiaHeightsCD133.html
May 13, 2009, 11:07 pm

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