Monday, December 14

Jehovah’s Witnesses are selling off their Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn for $1billion

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are selling off their Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York – for more than $1billion.The religious group has placed the building on the market along with a nearby apartment building and a 135,000-square-foot lot. 

The sale will most likely mean an end to the famous illuminated Watchtower sign, which can be seen from Manhattan and advertises the church’s flagship publication.
After being in Brooklyn for more than a century, the Witnesses want to build a more structured set-up in a quieter upstate area, namely Warwick.
The Jehovah’s Witness movement was founded in the 1870s by Charles Taze Russell who moved the Society’s headquarters to Brooklyn, New York, in 1909.
His idea had been to combine printing and corporate offices with a house of worship. Volunteers were housed in a nearby residence the named Bethel.
Over the next hundred years the group amassed 36 buildings scattered across Brooklyn.
The Witnesses bought their current 733,000-square-foot headquarters from Squibb Pharmaceuticals for $3million in 1969.
They began selling off their properties a decade ago – beginning with the printing plant which produces their Bibles and religious tracts.
In 2004, the whole production relocated from their New York factory to the town of Wallkill.
‘As we’ve grown as an organization we’ve had to buy scattered properties wherever we could find them,’ Devine said. ‘With a big, scattered campus like that it’s challenging to administer and to maintain.’
The latest sale, of the headquarters building, is expected to raise more than $1billion.
Despite the prominent ‘Watchtower’ sign, the building has no historical designations that would place restrictions on the buyer.
The sale will free up hundreds of thousands of square feet for businesses and apartments in a now-trendy neighborhood at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
‘It’s going to be incredibly transformative,’ said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, a business group.
The church has not announced an asking price but Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, called $1 billion ‘a conservative estimate’ for the Witnesses’ real estate portfolio.
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