09/19/11 9:00am


On Friday news hit that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has put another five of its valuable Brooklyn Heights properties on the market. The houses are asking a combined total of $18.8 million. Last month, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in the long lead up to moving their headquarters upstate, put a few other Heights buildings on the market. Here’s a breakdown of the latest crop of listings:
165 Columbia Heights: 4,172-square-foot, four-bedroom townhouse (two units; three bedrooms in the main apartment) with a garage. Asking $4,500,000.
76 Willow Street: Corner townhouse configured as three units: A studio, a two bedroom and a one bedroom. Listed for $3,600,000.
67 Remsen Street: Currently configured as nine studio rentals with an office space. Asking $3,600,000.
105 Willow Street: 4,755-square-foot house used as a five-family property with one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments on each floor. Listed for $3,600,000.
34 Orange Street: 3,040-square-foot townhouse with a garage. Asking $3,500,000.
Click through for a map showing where the five houses are…
(more…)

08/11/11 9:30am


Today The Brooklyn Paper runs a couple of pieces critical of the recent plan to reduce the amount of housing built in Brooklyn Bridge Park by banking on the eventual sale of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower Properties that are interesting because they assign a theoretical value to the Watchtower buildings: More than $1 billion. While it’s not clear exactly how the $1 billion number was reached, it seems to be based on an analysis from commercial broker Chris Havens that a Watchtower property like 25 Columbia Heights is worth $91 million right now as a commercial building but would go for double that amount if rezoned for residential use. In its editorial, the paper says the plan is flawed, in part, because it would create so much “new wealth for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, a religious order that has does not pay taxes and has contributed very little else to Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO since establishing the neighborhoods as a base of operations a century ago. We are not persuaded that the Watchtower Society deserves this payday, courtesy of city residents.”
News Analysis: Inside the Brooklyn Bridge Park Deal [BK Paper]
Editorial: At Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Rich Get Richer [BK Paper]
Photo from PropertyShark.


The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has put three of its Brooklyn Heights apartment buildings on the market: The 20-unit 50 Orange Street (asking $7.35 million); the 13-unit 183 Columbia Heights (going for $7.65 million); and the 10-unit 161 Columbia Heights (fishing for $3.45 million). The Eagle notes that the fact that Massey Knakal is marketing the buildings is “unusual” for Watchtower, which typically hasn’t used a brokerage in the past or attached asking prices to its properties. The paper also says that Watchtower has owned the buildings for 20 years and previously tried to sell the two Columbia Heights properties as part of a package deal in 2007 with the former Standish Hotel.
Brooklyn Heights Watchtower Buildings Up for Grabs [Commercial Observer]
In Unusual Move, Brokerage To Handle Sale of Watchtower Buildings [Eagle]