Witnesses To Sell Standish Arms

According to Brooklyn Heights Blog, the Brooklyn Eagle reported yesterday that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are preparing to sell the 80,000-square-foot Columbia Heights building known as the Standish Arms Hotel. For the last two decades, the Watchtower group has used the limestone and brick structure to house its flock. The decision is reportedly part of a larger reorganization of the property-rich organization’s holdings. All we know is these will be some expensive apartments when a developer’s done with them. How do neighbors feel about the impending change in ownership?
Watchtower to Sell Standish Arms [Brooklyn Heights Blog] GMAP

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  • this neighbor loves it.

  • This taxpayer loves it.

  • Where does this church get its money? Not just to purchase these buildings, but to pay the taxes and maintenance on them. The only representatives of this church I’ve ever seen are people going door to door. It doesn’t seem there are enough church members to provide this kind of money. Or did they get a ton of money back in the day from Michael Jackson, and just invested it wisely?

  • Um, churches don’t pay taxes. Duh.

  • I wonder where they will house the members moving out of this building. What has happened to their plans to build housing in DUMBO? Their parking lot there is still being used for parking… and there is no evidence of construction starting anytime soon.

  • The Witnesses have a thriving business printing bibles and religious books. That’s what they do in those giant factory buildings in Fulton Landing.
    They also tithe their members very heavily.
    They are loaded and they are thriving in terms of followers. Shows you the upside of forsaking liquor,cards, and fornication.

  • Only downside for this Brooklyn Heights resident will be the influx of cars that will come with new residents. For their numbers, the Witnesses don’t seem to add to the parking hassles in the nabe – guess it’s all their carpooling, their Dumbo parking lot and the 24-hour shuttle buses for church members.

  • I think Brooklyn Heights made its peace with the Witnesses a long time ago, but blocked allowing them to add more residences about 10 (?) years ago. They have been a part of the Heights for many years and are housed in several residences, some of which were hotels in the area. I think that it probably makes sense for them to cash in and I don’t think that the Heights cares very much either way, though I don’t think they will be missed particularly.

    I also think that those places would make fantastic condos and that it is a good thing for the neighborhood.

  • So 10:36, you’re saying churches don’t pay PROPERTY taxes? Even when the building is not a church where people worship, but is an office for their commercial endeavors, i.e. the publishing of their books like in the buildings in Dumbo?

    Maybe churches get out of paying these kinds of property taxes. But I wouldn’t assume it, as a layperson and not a tax expert. So why the “duh”? Except to be rude?

  • thay are also selling their property on Willow and orange. i believe they are relocating most of their operations out of Brookyn. It’s become cost-ineffective for them to stay here. I think they are going north near wappingers falls where they have a huge contingency.

  • undoubtedly the bible publishing is a non-profit endeavor, so no taxes. this is good for the city’s tax base.

  • thay are also selling their property on Willow and orange and another on livingston. i believe they are relocating most of their operations out of Brookyn. It’s become cost-ineffective for them to stay here. I think they are going north near wappingers falls where they have a huge contingency.

  • This is a great thing for the neighborhood. I think the Witnesses are consolidating their factories and dormitories somewhere upstate. This building is small potatoes compared to the huge facility on Furman Street and Joralemon that they sold a couple of years ago. They are moving out with a ton of cash to greener pastures, more elbow room, and cheaper overhead.

  • Witnesses do not tithe their members at all. As a matter of fact it is all voluntary dontations. All the people living there take a vow of poverty, work there as a volunteer, and thus are housed. It is a Worldwide headquarters. Take a tour. They explain it quite well. As well as some interesting building history.

  • they do save a lot on birthday presents

  • Definitely a good thing – not just for tax base, but those shuttle busses are a pain. They idle in front of curb cuts, won’t move when you’re dragging a cart full of groceries, and zoom around recklessly. When are they going to sell the Bossert??

  • Yes, they save a lot on birthday and Christmas presents, also on soda and booze.
    They may not say this on the tour, but the members that live in their facilites and work elsewhere have to turn over their entire paychecks to the church and are given a stipend in return. Resident members get room and board, use of the pool at the Bossert, and when Armageddon comes, they can move into the comfy system of tunnels and catacombs under Brooklyn Heights. Yes, they do exist. And no you will not be allowed in.

  • eli,

    tunnels and catacombs under the Heights? please tell us more…

  • Sure,
    The Witnesses have been in the Heights for over a hundred years. They have built an extensive sytem of tunnels connecting most of their buildings underground and providing them with a safe haven when Armageddon comes, which was supposed to have been in the 1980’s but has been pushed back. They will need to seal the tunnel entrance under the Standish Arms now.

  • any maps of said tunnels?

  • These tunnels were part of the underground railroad, connected with several of the churches in the Heights, I believe.

  • Maps of the tunnels?
    Who knows? There may be maps with the city. The JW do everything very legally. They probably had permits to dig most of the tunnels, except the very early ones.
    Another little-known thing about the Heights operations is that couples are not allowed to have children. I had business dealings with the Jehovahs once and my usual contact suddenly vanished. I kept asking his replacement what happened to Bob or whatever his name was, and finally someone whipered that his wife became pregnant and so “they had to leave the world headquarters”.

  • I have spoken with representatives of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society about the tunnels and catacombs myth. There are indeed tunnels, but the purpose thereof is for sharing mechanical systems between buildings. Although it is possible to walk from some buildings to others, the tunnels are not even used for that (except for maintenance staff) and will have little utility come the end-times.

    I knew some Southerners who would tell me, in all ignorant sincerity, that they had actually seen the horns of another religious group. Some of the comments above made me recall those conversations.

  • 1:13
    You actually knew southerners?
    How fascinating.
    you sound like a really well-travelled and enlightened person.
    Thank you for treating us to your deep insights.

  • eli,

    you are a fool.

    and thanks for the misinfo regarding the tunnels and child bearing.

    both of which are falsehoods.

  • Eli, sometimes we will have a nice thread going with interesting sharing of information, which stops dead in its tracks when somebody comes out with something gratuitously nasty. In this case, it is you. Why do that?

  • Man, this blog is full of the biggest woozes I have ever encountered on the net.
    Are you all like in Miss Henderson’s fifth grade class at Friends?

    “I knew some southerners”
    talk about a nasty bigot.

  • No, but you are like a 5th grader.

  • Glad the Witnesses are unloading BH properties.

  • Eli:

    Please do your research before you speak. It’s not nice to spread ignorant lies. That you should have learned in 5th grade. Anyhow hope you have a good day.

  • well, i guess this thread proves that witnesses use the internet.

    the nice thing about this sale is that it seems everyone benefits.

  • The Bossert is a beautiful, ex-hotel that they own on Montague that they own, perfect for condo’ing – heard that that was in the works. They also own a property/residence (former hotel?) on Willow and a facility on Clark Street.

  • The only Witness I ever knew personally worked with me and lived in their housing in BH. She became pregnant and left. I guess, based on what’s posted here that she was in a lot of trouble. I don’t think she was married.

  • “the members that live in their facilites and work elsewhere have to turn over their entire paychecks to the church and are given a stipend in return.”

    They don’t earn paychecks but they do receive a stipend, free food, and housing.

  • Personally, I think the Witnesses have been good residents of the Heights — they certainly take immaculate care of some huge wonderful old buildings (The Bossert on Montague and Hicks and the between Hicks and Willow and Clark and Pineapple) but I also think they’ve held back the retail scene on Montague.

    Because of the facilities in their buildings they don’t really use the gyms, supermarkets, restaurants, daycare centers… or probably the clothing stores, bookstores, or movie theaters.

    Having their buildings sold and turned into more mainstream residential (such as condos) will add that many more residents to the day-to-day mix to support the varied businesses we want on Montague St.

    With that in mind, I hope they sell the Bossert ASAP.

  • I think their plan is to sell all their Heights properties but need to do it a few blgs at a time, otherwise they’d flood the market. They’ve sold the Furman bldg (soon to be One Brooklyn Bridge..), and last year a number of smaller buildings. This year it’s this and hopefullly next year the Bossert.

    The plans for their 4 tall bldgs in DUMBO are a go. And they’ve moved much of their printing operations upstate, as mentioned


    This website summarizes 300 United States court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including dozens of cases where the Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions:



    This website summarizes 160 United States court cases and lawsuits filed by Jehovah’s Witnesses against Employers:



  • speaking strictly as a 3rd generation southern, uneducated/uncouth witness, and having visited our headquarters on numerous occasions, and having made voluntary contributions to our worldwide work for 55 years, I feel compelled to say:
    most of you folks must be getting your information in the same place you get your spiritual instruction.

  • Instead of answering questions by what you have heard from others or from conclusions you think up yourself, just get ahold of the Watchtower Society or ask the next one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you may meet. You will be surprised how different the truth can be.

  • i’ve lived in the heights all my life and talked to many witness about, women being raped, husbands and wives sleeping around, tricking young women into membership and then gang raping them. I’ve seem them drinking in bars till drunk. These people control their members by making them loose jobs, slandering all kinds of dirty things i’m just guessing but legal troubles or lawsuits could be part of the cause.

  • Contrary to popular belief Witnesses do drink alcohol, and most of the residents/workers at the headquarters drink quite heavily.
    Most of the workers are single men, but the couples that are there will be asked to leave if they have a child.
    The tunnels do exist, but were not intended for safe haven during armageddon. Just for easy access between buildings.
    The headquarters recently settled a major class action suit by victims of child abuse, and the sale of these buildings is likely related.
    -Matt raised as Witness/no longer one

  • I agree with Stacy. If you don’t know for sure, stop a Jehovah’s Witness and ASK!

  • This page has alot of rumors, on it. Its best just to ask a JW whats going on in the complex. Their known for their honesty

  • As an ex-“Bethelite” as Jehovah’s Witnesses who serve for free as workers in these Heights buildings, I want to clear up some things. Witnesses are NOT tithed. They are expeceted to contribute from their income to the organization. They CAN drink alcohol in moderation. The door to door work is volunteer and all of the literature is given away for free. The JW’s who distribute it have to contribute the value of what they distribute back to the organization. The Watchtower society bought most of these buildings dating back to the late 19th century up to the 70’s when real estate was not exacty expensive compared to today. Yes, the organization is “loaded” but that money comes from the thousands of brain washed, cult-following families who have been duped into believing all that nonsense about the end of the world. The society is selling these buildings because it can use that money to send out the flock to trick more people into becoming members.

  • More have died from their Watchtower spiritual and medical quackery than Jim Jones and David Koresh cults combined!
    Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs:

    A) They are at your door to recruit you for enslavement to their watchtower corporation,they will say that “we are just here to share a message from the Bible” this is deception right off.

    B) Their ‘message’ is a false Gospel that Jesus had his second coming in 1914.The problem with this is it’s not just a cute fairy tale,Jesus warned of the false prophets who would claim “..look he is here in the wilderness,or see here he is at the temple…”

    C) Their anti-blood transfusion ban has killed hundreds if not thousands

    D) once they recruit you they will “love bomb” you in cult fashion to also recruit your family & friends or cut them off. There are many more dangers,Jehovah’s Witnesses got a bad rap for good and valid reasons.

    99% of the world has rejected the teachings of the Watchtower Jehovah’s Witnesses, the darker truth is they are a destructive and oppressive organization.
    Mind control is a terrible thing.

    Danny Haszard Jehovah’s Witness X 33 years http://www.freeminds.org

  • some of you need to know more about jehovah’s witnesses before you start making statements you dont know. all places used for a religious purpose is tax free, that is a fact. since the witnesses have been in the neighborhood they have had in raising the property value in brooklyn heights. they took over those buildings when no one wanted to do the work in fixing them up and it is only after they did the work that the neighbors wanted it back. so please do your research before you make statements like that because you only make yourself looks bad.

  • The Jehovah are very similar in secular ambitions as Scientologist.

    Commercial enterprises masquerading as religion.

  • I am a witness who served at the headquarters back in 2001 and 2002. I loved the area and more importantly, I loved the reason why I was there. There have been some truthful comments above, and mostly false. I like the instruction about asking a JW if you have a question, that’s the best way! As someone already mentioned, we do not tithe. There is an arrangement for voluntary donations, but no one is pressured and all donations are anonymous. We do not benefit financially from the items printed, it is purposed for bible education, and there is no charge for the bibles and literature. The reason for the selling of all of these housing developments was already commented on. We have an upstate facility that had been doing much of the printing, and now it handles all printing for the US branch. Thus there is not near as much of a need for housing in the Heights. All funds will be used to further the ministry. If you do not believe that, well I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But feel free to look for “prominent” members of the headquarters taking the lead in the activities, the truth is you would not be able to distinguish them. They are not wealthy, but are also unpaid volunteers. As far as the “cult” accusation, of course as I mentioned, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I have been involved for over 2 decades with the Organization, and have never felt like I was pressured to be here, it is my own choice. I have examined other religions extensively using the Bible, and this is the one that rings true to me. All activities of JW’s including: the Ministry, their meetings, conventions, assemblies, are all public activities, and anyone is welcome. It is not a dark secret thing that charictorizes cults.Most postings on the internet about JW’s are from disgruntled former members that were not “kicked out” but who chose to leave. Therefore, any information from those sources will be obviously biased. If someone really wants to know what JW’s believe, the official website is http://www.watchtower.org Everyone can believe what they would like to believe, but Witnesses are taught to love others, and I am a better person since I became one.Thanks for listening, please remember to ask a JW if you want to know.