The ‘Watchtower’ deal’s winners and losers

The ‘Watchtower’ deal’s winners and losers
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

The city’s agreement to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual maintenance with the property taxes on soon-to-be-sold Watchtower properties could be the greatest real-estate swindle of all time or sound public policy. But either way, it’s created plenty of winners and losers:


The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: The sect also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses will make a killing when the city rezones its 30-plus properties for residential use.

Brooklyn Heights: The richest neighborhood will have its flashy new park paid for without bearing the burden of any new buildings.

Daniel Squadron: The Brooklyn Heights state senator made good on his main campaign promise to reduce or eliminate housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park — and won’t likely be blamed if the deal blows up.


Developers: Real-estate magnates were dying to build new luxury high-rises on Pier 6. But if the city plan works, those buildings won’t be needed.

The next mayor: The new administration will be holding the bag if the Watchtower buildings don’t generate as much park money as advertised.

The poor: Millions of dollars in normal property taxes — which fund basic city services such as libraries, cops, firefighters and schools — will be siphoned off from the rezoned Watchtower buildings to pay for a fancy park in an already rich neighborhood.

— Kate Briquelet

A homeless man — a loser under the deal.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini