In December, the Jehovah's Witnesses listed their hallmark Watchtower compound at the Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo border for an estimated $400 million. It turns out they're scoring a lot more than that. The Post reports that Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen, and LIVWRK appear to be expanding their grip on the neighborhood and have struck a deal for the 733,000-square-foot building, for which they're reportedly paying $700 million. The deal also includes a 1.1 million-square-foot development site where a structure can be built as-of-right (like the supertall towers of 57th Street—without a former approvals process.)
This isn't the first deal the pack of developers made with the religious organization. In 2013, they purchased 1.2 million square feet in the neighborhood for $375 million. Their plan included transforming the five newly acquired buildings into a tech company-friendly complex, which they'd call Dumbo Heights. Their plans for the "mixed-use urban campus" also included gourmet market, roof deck, pet-friendly spaces, daycare facilities and bicycle storage.
The acquisition of the Watchtower building marks the group's most significant buy in the neighborhood yet. Just imagine a world in which the Watchtower banner is replaced by Google or Twitter. The future is now.
Meanwhile, the Jehovah's Witnesses are moving upstate in part to escape the madness of NYC real estate.