The Jehovah’s Witnesses have forsaken Brooklyn Heights as their headquarters, and will move to a compound upstate, it was reported this week.
The business arm of the religious group, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is planning to vacate 25 and 30 Columbia Heights, two mammoth buildings that remain occupied, for now.
“We have submitted a proposal to the Town of Warwick to build a complex there that we’re calling the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Richard Devine told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle this week. “We have started the land use process there.”
Devine, the group’s real estate manager, said that the new property would hold 850 people and would be environmentally conscious.
For years, the group has been disposing of assorted properties in the area, worth millions of dollars.Among the buildings sold was 360 Furman Street, snapped up by RAL Companies in 2004 for $205 million, and 169 Columbia Heights, the Standish Arms Hotel, which sold for $50 million to Taurus Investment Holdings in 2007.
The group acquired both the Warwick property and another in Ramapo last year. The latter will be home to an administrative complex. The group has previously moved its printing operations to Wallkill. It also owns an education center in Putnam County.
According to the report, Devine said the sect still owns eight smaller buildings in Brooklyn Heights that it has yet to sell, because of the down real estate market. He said that the group’s new headquarters will be a cinch for visitors — some 70,000 a year — to access, as it is a quick 45-minute car ride from LaGuardia Airport, and only 20 minutes from Paramus.