Now, it appears that developers Jared Kushner (Donald Trump’s son-in-law, in case you didn’t know), Aby Rosen and LIVWRK are in the wings to scoop up both the 733,000-square-foot Witnesses headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and the giant empty development lot at 85 Jay Street in Dumbo, according to a story in the New York Post.
These developers know what they’re doing
The Kushner-Rosen-LIVWRK triumvirate is no stranger to the Witnesses, having famously purchased a complex of five buildings from the religious organization for $375 million in 2013. (It was the biggest deal in New York City that year.) Those properties, now a creative office development known as Dumbo Heights, is nearing completion with tenants including WeWork and Etsy.
Apparently, the developers are eager to double down on the potential of the two closely linked neighborhoods, most likely planning to turn the Witnesses HQ into more offices and possibly build a lucrative residential development at the Dumbo site — both of which would have a major impact on their respective neighborhoods.
But the deal is not set in stone
The Post mentioned that multiple sales contracts are currently out, and nothing’s been signed. In all likelihood, the Witnesses are still considering other bids on the properties. As we wrote in February, a number of other big-name developers have made offers on the sites, including Vornado Realty Trust, Silverstein Properties, and L&L Holding.
A little background on the sale
The Jehovah’s Witnesses came to Brooklyn in 1908 and began acquiring properties in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo not long after. By the early 2000s, the religious group owned nearly two dozen highly valuable sites.
But in 2011, the organization decided it was time to move its operation somewhere with more expansion potential. The Witnesses purchased a 250-acre forested plot in Warwick, N.Y., and began liquidating its Brooklyn Heights holdings piece by piece. The group still owns a dozen properties that it hasn’t yet put on the auction block.