All Along The Watchtower: Iconic JW Building In Brooklyn Seals The Deal For $700 Million

Brooklyn waterfront property is in hot demand, particularly from tech companies.

By Jeff Vasishta August 8, 2016

The religion whose famous members included the late pop stars Prince, Michael Jackson and current tennis champ Serena Williams, are selling their DUMBO world headquarters for $700 million. The buyers of the Jehovah’s Witness’ iconic Brooklyn property are a consortium comprised of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen and Brooklyn based developer and manager LIVWRK. They are the same group that purchased 1.2 million square-feet in Dumbo Heights for $375 million in 2013 from the Witnesses and are now leasing the building to various companies including WeWork and Etsy.

RelatedDowntown Brooklyn Building Boom Set To Continue With Big Money Deal For Historic Law School

Brooklyn waterfront property is in hot demand, particularly from tech companies. And, it’s not unreasonable to imagine some Silicon Valley giant (Apple or maybe Facebook, for all we know) choosing to recreate the massive property in their own image, utilizing the cool element of hipster-rich Brooklyn to serve as an east coast hub. Yet throughout the process, no one could accuse the religion, which publishes their famous magazine, also named the Watchtower, of trying to turn a quick buck. They have been in the building since 1969 when the purchased it from Squibb Pharmaceuticals for $3 million.

Back then, Brooklyn—particularly DUMBO—wasn’t the hot commodity it is now. The massive building, positioned in a key waterfront locale, could also be turned into high-end condos as there are no historical designations to limit the buyer as to their use.

“It’s going to be incredibly transformative,” Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, told the Daily Mail.

At the other end of the deal, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are reinvesting their windfall in a large facility in Warwick, Upstate New York, an hour north of the city. The new place will have much more room for everything from office space and printing facilities to living space and places for worship when it plans to open in 2017.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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