Jehovah’s Wittnesses DUMBO parcels to be purchased by realty firms RFT, Kushner Companies

Watch this space: Watchtower unloads six buildings for a song

The Brooklyn Paper
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One of DUMBO’s largest landowners is moving out — and it has sold its property for a song.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, has unloaded six factory-style buildings in the booming neighborhood for $375 million, a discounted price that has experts believing the tall, fat structures won’t be converted into expensive condos anytime soon.

“I suspect that these will be kept for [office use],” said Stevie Palmese, a realtor with Massey Knakal who claimed the city would not change zoning to allow residential in the massive footprint.

The cluster of six properties, located at 117 Adams St. between Sands and York streets; 175 Pearl St. between Sands and High streets; 55 Prospect St. between Adams and Pearl streets; 81 Prospect St. between Pearl and Jay streets; 77 Sands St. between Pearl and York streets, and 90 Sands St. between Pearl and Jay streets, which are zoned for manufacturing and commercial use, could become a major player in the so-called Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which Downtown policy-makers are touting as the next Silicon Valley.

“These properties feature large, creative office space right in the heart of the growing Brooklyn Tech Triangle,” said Jared Kushner, chief executive officer of Kushner Companies, which purchased the buildings. “We look forward to playing a key role in the continued improvement of the neighborhood and advancement of the market.”

The fact that the properties won’t become a mixed-used of housing and commercial spaces scared off some potential buyers — including Two Trees Management, which famously converted manufacturing space to residences during the 1990s, reviving a neighborhood as it shed its industrial past.

Two Trees head Jed Walentas said his company did put in a bid for the land — but it was even lower than the one finally accepted by the Witnesses.

The Watchtower, which did not return calls for comments by press time, has been working for the last decade to sell more than 30 of its properties in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO as it moves its operations upstate. Its property in Brooklyn has been used to house sect members and run a printing press — and it has been selling them off since 2004 for massive profits.

One of the first to go, 360 Furman St. — now One Brooklyn Bridge Park — went for $205 million back in 2004. Late last year, the Bossert Hotel on Montague Street at Hicks Street — where the Brooklyn Dodgers celebrated their World Series championship in 1955 — sold for $81 million. It will be turned back into a hotel after spending years as a dorm for Watchtower members.

The most recent sale involves buildings that have been owned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for about a century. All the buildings have M1-6 zoning, meaning that they are limited to manufacturing or commercial use. They will be redeveloped in partnership with Livwrk Holdings, according to a statement from the companies.

Kushner and RFR, which jointly purchased the property, did not respond to requests for additional comment.

The sale, which will return the buildings to the tax roll once a non-religious organization takes control, could even have an effect on the amount of condominiums that are constructed inside Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Park backers have for years hoped that the city would consider building less housing in the park if new property tax dollars raised once the Jehovah’s Witnesses moved out of the area could offset the costs of running the greenspace.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

david metcalf from says:
As Mose`s once said to Pharoah,` Let my people go!` now they are on the move again,with the biggest witness work in the world.Have you not heard, will you not see what God has promised.
July 11, 2013, 1:03 am
Dan from Boerum Hill says:
If I'm not mistaken, JW's have made 20 false "end of world" predictions. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me 20 times, and maybe it's time to try another religion (or perhaps give science a shot).
July 11, 2013, 5:31 am
ty from pps says:
While parks are immensely important for the city, the housing plan was *always* part of it. New tax dollars from these properties should not be earmarked to bankroll the parks. If anything, they should be earmarking new tax dollars for things like the transit projects, like dedicated bus lanes, and other infrastructure projects (energy, pollution, etc.)
July 11, 2013, 7:53 am
Logan from Dumbo says:
Get them out of here. Cultist religion folk ruin DUMBO. Seeing that "Watchtower" every day creeps me out. it's bad enough the harass everyone with their subway handouts!
July 11, 2013, 9:44 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Sounds like Kushner is doing some real thinking about long-term economic and tech development in the borough. The low price and the even lower bid by Walentas, the other big player in the hood, hints at a broader consensus about these properties than we are privy to in this story. The fabled "Metrotech" is finally happening. NYU swallowed Polytech. Now all we need is for someone to throw a hundred million at Citytech and we'll be cooking with gas.
July 11, 2013, 11:06 am
Marc from Windsor Terrace says:
Zoning aside, aren't the floors of some of these "factory-style" buildings too big for anything residential other than open loft space under the Multiple Dwelling Law and the building and fire codes because floor to ceiling walls would result in illegal windowless rooms? Hallways, bathrooms, kitchenettes, foyers, and small alcoves can be windowless but not bedrooms, living rooms, and full kitchens.
July 11, 2013, 11:45 am
irving berlin from crown heights says:
$300 bucks a foot is a record price for the area
July 11, 2013, 12:46 pm
Alex from America says:
The Jehovah's Witnesses are relocating to Warwick, N.Y., where they plan to build a 250-acre complex which will serve them well for the next one hundred and thirty years of warning us the end is 'at hand'.

Founder Charles Taze Russel and other WT presidents would view this as total failure.
July 11, 2013, 4:19 pm
Alex from America says:
Watchtower headquarters.....the Vatican of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
July 11, 2013, 4:35 pm
Alex from America says:
Here is the treatment you can expect if you ever choose to be true to your conscious.
July 11, 2013, 5:40 pm
Levi from Brooklyn Heights says:
Wow, so many un-researched comments. Dumbo has been a run down neighborhood for years, and yet you suggest the Witnesses are bad neighbors. So trade in a few thousand clean-cut people, who do not steal, get drunk, cover themselves with tattoos and so on for what we call today's modern society. I think our area will need these new tax dollars just to control crime and police the area. Good people going and who knows what kind are coming. Ugh!
July 11, 2013, 8:54 pm
Richard Kelly from Galleria says:
Contact: Richard E. Kelly


Jehovah’s Witness Conventions – Cash Cow, or Cause for Concern?
As you may be aware, Jehovah's Witnesses have scheduled their annual District Convention here in BROOKLYN NY, from 7/12/2013 through 7/14/2013 at AHJW, 973 Flatbush Ave. Many businesses and venues look forward to these annual conventions, because they bring with them a much-needed source of revenue.

The trouble is, the influx of money comes with a catch. The organizers of this event, the Watch Tower Society, promotes and enforces policies that threaten basic human rights, causing considerable harm and suffering to countless current and former Witnesses.
These damaging policies relate to:

1. The shunning of former members, including family members
2. The mishandling of child molestation
3. The mishandling of cases of domestic abuse
4. The stigmatization of higher education among teenagers
5. The ban on certain forms of treatment with blood

AAWA has extended an open offer to the Governing Body of the Watch Tower Society to meet with them to discuss ways in which the organization can introduce much-needed reforms that would remedy these issues. So far this offer has gone unanswered.

Millions are affected by the above practices, and yet Watchtower continually escapes scrutiny by the press because it enforces its policies under the cloak of religious freedom. AAWA respectfully asks the public and the media to look beyond the financial benefits of these conventions, and consider the human cost.

About AAWA:
Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) is a religiously-neutral organization; a not-for-profit corporation with 260 volunteers from over twenty countries who are committed to raising awareness objectively and respectfully, as well as to helping victims of abusive Watchtower policies.
July 11, 2013, 9:02 pm
Alex from America says:
No doubt the Watchtower organization itself is a high control religious sect. The followers are really more like victims but of course they are converted to hate those who dare say anything against their master...which they call the Faithful and Discrete Slave.
July 12, 2013, 5:35 am
Alexis Klatt from Silverdale says:
Just to clear up all these misunderstandings & misinformation: The Encyclopedia Canadiana observes, "The work of Jehovah's Witnesses is the revival and re-establisment of the primitive Christianity practised by Jesus and his disciples."
July 12, 2013, 8:24 am
SantaHappyBirthday from AllOfThePlanet says:
I agree the witnesses are clean cut, but I don't really want them in my hood, those annoying pamphlet pressers and door to door lies schleppers. Ship em off upstate where they can build a compound, drink some nice coolaide and take a loooooonnnnng nap in peace.
July 12, 2013, 11:04 am
the Chooch from your ghetto says:
It is bamboozlement incarnate! Just a gussied up form of lowbrow storefront epilepsy. But that's not the point. Science — supreme and munificent — is the heir to this swatch of Brooklyn. The fabled "Metrotech" has been a black hole in the borough for 30 years. Silicon valley it ain't! But plough these buildings into it and it may just finally yield hope for this benighted intersection of Brooklyn.
July 12, 2013, 11:11 am
Alex from America says:
For those who really want to view what The Encyclopedia Canadiana says use their link:
July 12, 2013, 4:06 pm
Cass from Atlanta says:
Careful what you wish for JW disparagers! I'd like for someone to do a study of DUMBO; Present and Post JWs. Then I'll bet you'll disparage no more.
July 14, 2013, 11:08 pm
Stratos from Florida says:
What a joke: AAWA
Enjoy what little life you have left.
July 16, 2013, 12:31 pm
Bob from Hibbing says:
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth
July 16, 2013, 12:53 pm
Goodheart from chicago says:
The nastiness from the witness haters reminds me of the religious leaders of Jesus' day. venomous snakes. sssssssssssssss.
July 24, 2013, 3:13 pm
MisterEforthee from Ridgewood says:
Yeah the "Bethelites" are mannerly and highly unlikely to mug someone or rob a bodega but don't forget the WT complex doesn't do much for local commerce since they purchase almost everything from their own closed loop sources, the JW's working (for no money) are broke since they receive only a ~$90/month stipend so don't expect them to support local restaurants and retail outlets. The Brooklyn complex can be likened to "Noah's ark", with everyone waiting for the coming "Great flood) or armageddon despite the many failed predictions they continue to cling to their illusion of "The truth", which is actually a cleverly masked deception! Goodbye Watchtower "Zombies"
July 24, 2013, 11:05 pm
C Etus from South-eastern Nigeria. says:
Predictions are predictions, and facts are facts. Predictions based on facts are good, despite been fallible. I love the Watchtower.
Sept. 30, 2013, 6:49 pm
coojoo from florida says:
People should stop lying about what they dont know....get the facts first....why nobody talks about the crazy founders of scientology....
Oct. 24, 2013, 1:35 pm
Rafael from Alphaville - SP - Brasil says:
As pessoas que falam mal das Testemunhas de Jeová se parecem com as pessoas que zombavam de Noé e sua família na época do dilúvio. O final delas vai ser o mesmo. Quando eu leio algum comentário que denigre a imagem das TJs, simplesmente sinto pena da pessoa que pensa algo tão ruim desse povo tão amigável. Sinto pena ao saber que nada vai restar dela, nem mesmo uma lembrança.
Dec. 27, 2013, 12:49 pm
b from canada says:
I have neighbors that are j.w.'s and they would be the first to come and help me in a time of need. I would trust them with my life. I understand that there is a very small minority that have to be dis-fellowshiped (as they call it) and for good reason to keep the organization clean. far better to be in a religion that lives up to high standards that are based on scriptural principals than to tolerate hypocrisy in the church. I was raised a catholic and could see so many members doing things that are contrary to the bible, and yet the church turned a blind eye, as to say this did not exist. I stopped going to church for that main reason. Say what you like about this organization but I welcome them any time at my door. They are respectable law abiding citizens and anyone who says anything against these people need their head examined.
March 18, 2014, 12:04 am
truth never lies from az says:
Re; b from canada says:

I am still considered a JW even though I have been inactive for over a year.

First of all, when you dont know the details of a person or group, everything "seems" great. Im sure Jim Jones was a nice guy too, considering over 900 followers committed suicide for him. You think disfellowshipping is for the ones not following the Bibles principles, for a few, that probably is true, but now days, you can be easily be disfellowshipped for asking a question about Watchtower doctrine and why it doesnt go with Bible doctrine. I know MANY that have been disfellowshipped with NO proof of wrongdoing. Im sorry, but being nice, doesnt prove the "cult" to be true. I have spent over 40 years in a controlled environment and I have had enough. If your so sold on them, why arent you an official member yet ? put your money where your mouth is. I would safely say that there are at least 40% of JW's that live a double life in one way or another, whether its in business or morals. They follw the governing body when its convenient and no big deal, but when it effects them personally, they do their own thing. I left because of the extreme hypocrasy of JW's. They know very little about the Bible, because the Watchtower takes presidence. If the Watchtower says it, you do it, NO QUESTIONS asked. If you see the Bible says different from the Watchtower, you dont say anything, you are supposed to wait until the "governing body" changes their viewpoint, then you are allowed to change with them, but not before. There is little room for personal conscience, unless they say its ok. Witnesses that stick up for the Watchtower do that because they havnt learned to think for themselves yet. When they finally do ( like I did) then you wonder why you never saw it before. They have a tight controlling grip on us, and until you realize that you are being abused, you will stay with them because while they keep spiritually beating you, you dont realize it because they keep sayiny they love you at the same time. Until a woman being beat by her husband realizes that he doesnt love her, she will continue to stay thinking that there is no one else for her, so she sticks with what she ythinks she knows. HOW SAD.

Next time before you make a comment, know what the hell your talking about before you open your mouth. You are so uninformed ! A white washed grave looks good from the outside, but is full of dead mans bones on the inside. The Watchtower is a white washed grave. Open your eyes, even a pediphile can be a nice person, how do you think he luers children in??????????
April 4, 2014, 4:30 pm
gmoney says:
If you hate the Jws so much then go join another religion, go start your own religion. you not forced to stay that's why you quit. Move on or go back and restore your relationship with Jehovah, crying about it on the internet is silly. Your comparing the witnesses to Jim Jones. Does one person with a mental illnessoversee the JW organization. No
Oct. 29, 2014, 1:22 pm
ET from New England says:
TO: truth never lies from az, and gmoney.

The 'seven dwarfs' from New York, better known as the 'governing body' rule over everything you do, everything you think, wear, go, buy, and everything you say.

"Don't run ahead of the organization" you are told. (Let them catch up to YOUR thoughts on what the Bible says, or what you should, 'do think or say.') They disfellowship people, and then later decide what these people were disfellowshipped for is the 'new light.' (but they will never admit that they are wrong). If we say it or think it, it's "APOSTATE DRIVEN LIES!" And people who learn the truth about the "truth" are "MENTALLY DISEASED!" If THEY say it, it's NEW LIGHT.

One minute vaccinations are wrong and blood is ok, next vaccinations are ok and blood is wrong, then ok, then wrong, then blood fractions are ok.

They bashed other religions including the Catholics for disfellowshipping (excommunication), then a few years later they did the very same thing.

They bashed other religions for begging for money, then they give not-so-subtle hints on the broadcasting, with money boxes at the assemblies.

They discourage you from going to college, not because you will get caught up in evolution, but because it makes you THINK, and THINK for yourself, abstract thinking. The GB call this "independent thinking" and it's a very bad thing in this religion.

How I started to find all this out, was when new my husband got away with a lot, including pathological lying, failing to tell me the whole truth prior to our marriage, never doing right by me with all those lies, making me wish I was dead, but the last straw was the naked pictures of a woman on his phone, and him saying "thank you mama," and texting her back making arrangements with her to send her a pic at the exact time I was out in the ministry -- dropping the ministry that very moment for a last minute call to go run to work to support us.

Prior to marriage he said I didn't have to work and could pioneer. Reality was, he can't even support himself, and is now back with mommy.

Then he texted someone else and told her he loved her and missed her ... and got away with it all.

The good ole boys otherwise known as the elders let him get away with it all ... Even his father, the COBE, found it odd he had NO privileges taken away from him, never mind getting reproved or disfellowshipped for getting naked pictures at LEAST 4 times over our short marriage. And instead of saying, "stop" or "I told you to stop, he says "thank you mama" to her. So I have to sit here celibate for the rest of my life, but it's OK for him to do all this?

And then, the elders told ME I could not separate or get a divorce, which ironically is totally against their 'secret elders' book that basically says to mind their own business and NOT tell spouses to get or not get a divorce or separation.

AND if all that wasn't enough, the man is impotent. And not a spiritual head at all. His dad said he told him prior to our marriage he wasn't in a position to get married, and he ignored it and just lied about it.

Because this all blew me away, and could not believe the True God was ok with all this, I started doing research, and here I am ...

I could go on and on. I am 43 years in, and fading
Jan. 22, 2017, 7:01 pm

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