Co-working Spaces, Restaurants and Tech Companies Rush In Where The Jehovah’s Witness Have Vacated

Developers wasted no time in restructuring the J.W. buildings into a bustling residential and commercial wonderland.

By Jeff Vasishta November 4, 2016
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From witness to fitness, prayer meets to quick eats. The Jehovah’s Witnesses had hardly packed up their last bible and vacated their vast Dumbo headquarters when the young, fit and fabulous with big dreams, bigger appetites and the kitchens to feed them started to transform the massive space. And now the new restaurants are opening their doors, bringing a festival of flavor to Brooklyn taste-buds.

Related: Brooklyn Bridge Park Gets A Groundbreaking: Building The Sheep Meadow Of Brooklyn

The one-million-square-foot site—which includes 175 Pearl St., 77 Sands St., 117 Adams St., 81 Prospect St. and 55 Prospect St. — underwent a $100 million gut renovation after the investment group, comprising developer Kushner along with LIVWRK and CIM Group purchased it for $375 million in October of 2013. New tenants like Taco Dumbo, Shadowbox NYC, cafe Bluestone and fitness studio Row House are moving in and transforming the neighborhood. And that’s saying something as the area is already known as a hip but overpriced tech hub, gallery and performance arts center.

Taco Dumbo adds some mellow out west coast vibes to the NY’s winter chill with surfboard table, a vegan friendly menu and a “cold pressed margarita bar”.

“I wanted to make something that was in line with my own morals—something that wasn’t pretentious and makes people feel good when they enter the space. It’s supposed to feel like an escape,” owner Brendan Hirsch told Brownstoner.

The feel good vibes were kicked off when the developer’s constructed a two-block-long public plaza along Sands Street between Adams and Jay streets. The plaza extended the 15-foot-wide sidewalk by 15 feet including public artwork, seating, and planters. La Fantástica is behind the design, and the Dumbo Improvement District is associated with the project.

“We wanted to provide a downstairs experience for the end user, the tenants, so they can have a continuation of a collaborative environment without having to stay at their desks,” Asher Abehsera, chief exec of LIVWRK, told the Wall Street Journal.

Set on 2.3 acres at 25, 30, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights and 55 Furman St., reimagined urban office Xanadu is set to be filled with all that’s Brooklyn cool or in the words of developer Jared Kusher (son-in-law of Donald Trump), a “world class office campus.”

Related: $185,000 Parking Spaces Are Coming To Brooklyn

“We’re always looking to raise the bar for how today’s top companies want to work, and this property will set a new standard,” Kushner said in a statement in August. “Over the next year, we’ll begin transforming the property into one of the marquee urban office campuses anywhere in the country, let alone New York City.”

Other developments in the area, aside from the J.W. office conversion, according to NYYimbe include a 12 story, 42-unit condominium building at 1 John Street which wrapped in May. It features a 3,000-square foot restaurant and 2,551 square feet of space for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Studio. Alloy Development is using in house architects and Monadnock Construction were the developers.

The conversion of a former manufacturing building near the DUMBO waterfront at 51 Jay St was recently completed by developers Slate Property Group and Adam America Real Estate. The ubiquitous ODA Architecture were the designers. Lofts start at $2.550 million with penthouses fetching close to $6 million. The project is already 80 percent sold out. Must be nice.

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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