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NY Daily News: WT Buildings to Become 'Dumbo Heights'

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Watchtower buildings to become Dumbo Heights  Work is underway to transform the former home of the Jehovah's Witnesses into a sleek office and retail complex for tech-savvy 'innovators.'
BY Doyle Murphy
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 2:00 AM
  • watchtower1k-2-web.jpgCOURTESY OF DUMBO HEIGHTS Dumbo Heights, a rebranded cluster of buildings, sits in the middle of Brooklyn's Tech Triangle.

A coveted cluster of Dumbo buildings once included in a vast portfolio owned by the Jehovah Witnesses will go from Watchtower to high-tech campus, the Daily News has learned.

The Kushner Companies-owned buldings, which traded hands for $375 million — Brooklyn’s most ballyhooed sale last year — will cater to creative-class tenants. Amenities will include a gourmet market, roof deck, pet-friendly spaces, daycare facilities and bicycle storage.

The stylish digs are being branded as Dumbo Heights and transformed to appeal to the “innovators” increasingly drawn to the old industrial neighborhood, home to Brooklyn’s burgeoning Tech Triangle.

“We do see this as a campus, not just a bunch of interconnected buildings,” Asher Abehsera of LIVWRK Holdings said of the five former watchtower properties and their 1.2 million square feet.

Kushner and partners RFR Realty and LIVWRK launched a sleek website and marketing campaign on Thursday, aiming to capitalize on Dumbo’s reputation as a prime destination for the tech-savvy and emphasizing the campus’ “connectivity” and its proximity to galleries, performing arts and start-ups.

The draw for the complex — with rents starting under $60 per square foot — is as much its lifestyle and cultural appeal as its competitive cost and square footage, Abehsera said.article-watchtower3-0501.jpg Five buildings, connected by skyways, have been rebranded Dumbo Heights, a tech-friendly campus in the midst of Brooklyn's Tech Triangle.


The project will compete with Chelsea and Midtown South as companies search for more space, better amenities and easy commutes.

“There is a crisis in Brooklyn,” Abehsera said. “If you want a space envelope and you want a view and you want to be close to trains, there is not a lot of options.”

Several major tenants are expected to be announced within the next 30 days.

A $100 million overhaul is underway, and the project is expected to be open and occupied in the first quarter of 2015.

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John, you are toooo funny, thanks for the warning. Now when links are posted, I scrolled down first to see if you have give the 'all clear' sign before I hit that link. I don't want no cookie I can't eat......lol. No offense Julsey. :))

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Thanks John, like the Sisters, I like edible cookies - especially dunked! ... That sale last year was a win - win for all involved and we look forward to this weeks local needs ... http://jwtalk.net/forums/topic/14865-spoiler-alert-donations/ ... back in November from Musky ... http://jwtalk.net/forums/topic/12510-last-great-site-in-dumbo-makes-developers-drool-crunch-numbers/

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  • 3 months later...



Among the leading gospels coming out of Brooklyn over the last century has been that of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Members carried forth their message on street corners and at subway stops, handing out pamphlets printed at their headquarters, known as the Watchtower, a complex of beige-brick factories at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

But during the last decade, a new Brooklyn gospel arose, one of techies, artisans and entrepreneurs. It turns out the Watchtower makes a pretty nice cathedral for them, too.

With a move of their headquarters to Warwick, N.Y., the Witnesses have been selling their city holdings — more than 30 buildings over the last 10 years, largely to residential developers. Among the properties were immaculately maintained townhouses and the Bossert Hotel, where the Dodgers used to stay, and the huge old warehouse at the foot of Atlantic Avenue that now houses the One Brooklyn Bridge Park condominiums.

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