Kushner Companies Pulls Out of Two of Brooklyn’s Biggest Development Sites

Photos by Lori Berkowitz and Barbara Eldredge

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Kushner Companies has sold off its stakes in two of its biggest Brooklyn properties, apparently in a move to raise cash for its embattled business.

The company held only a minority stake — just 2.5 percent, the New York Post reported — in both the iconic former headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, now part of a five-building complex now known as Panorama Brooklyn, and the huge development site at 85 Jay Street in Dumbo.

These former Jehovah’s Witnesses properties are two of the biggest development sites in Brooklyn.

jehovahs witness watchtower sign

The building in June. Photo by Susan De Vries

Panorama’s five buildings include two from the 1920s and three smaller brick and timber structures that date to the 19th century — at 25, 29 and 30 Columbia Heights and 51 and 67 Furman Street.

Columbia Heights Associates — a partnership between CIM Group and LIVWRK that until recently also included Kushner Companies — bought the Witnesses headquarters in August 2016 for $340 million. The sale did not include underground rights, public records show.

In December 2017, the iconic lit-up red Watchtower sign, a landmark in Brooklyn Heights for almost 50 years, was taken down.

brooklyn development jared kushner morris adjmi 85 jay street

Photo by Barbara Eldredge

The site at 85 Jay, which was purchased for $345 million in December 2016, is a massive former parking lot that occupies a whole block close to the York Street F train subway station and the water.

Permit applications were filed with the city in August 2017 calling for a 21-story, 737-unit building, designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, best known for the Wythe Hotel.

The association with the Kushner name also became difficult after the election, according to the Post.

“The partners agreed to monetize Kushner Cos.’ small minority interests as it focuses its attention and resources on projects where it holds substantial ownership interests,” the CIM Group told the Post. Kushner Companies has been having financial difficulties with 666 5th Avenue in Manhattan and raising capital, according to reports.

[Source: NYP]

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