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Witnesses sell four-story Dumbo building for $65M, could become 28-story residential tower

On the dotted line: Developer Rabsky Group has purchased this Jehovah’s Witnesses building on Adams Street in Dumbo.
Brooklyn Paper
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This investment is expected to grow.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses recently unloaded another building in their pricey portfolio of Dumbo properties and the buyer could erect a new residential tower on the site.

Williamsburg developer Rabsky Group purchased the church’s four-story recreational facility next to the Manhattan Bridge at Adams and Front streets for $65 million on Nov. 29, as first reported by the Real Deal.

The new owner can build a new property of up to 28 stories with residential, commercial, and community space inside under the land’s current zoning, according to a spokesman for the religious organization.

Rabsky is no stranger to massive developments — the firm is erecting a futuristic 400-unit apartment complex on the site of the old Rheingold Brewery in Bushwick and is trying to convince the city to let it build more than 1,000 units across two full blocks of the former Pfizer factory in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The Witnesses — formally dubbed the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society — have been based in Brooklyn for more than a century, but are now selling off the extensive real estate holdings they amassed during that period as they prepare to relocate the nerve center upstate.

They sold the bulk of their old printing plants and warehouses to developer Jared Kushner — President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law and right-hand-man — who has turned them into an interconnected office complex dubbed Dumbo Heights.

Kushner also nabbed the church’s former Columbia Heights headquarters — complete with its iconic neon “Watchtower” sign — and is rumored to be purchasing its massive block-sized parking lot at Jay and Front streets where could build a thousand units of new housing.

The birthday-spurning religious organization currently has four other properties on the market — including the site of the former Margaret Hotel at Columbia Heights and Orange Street, and the old Leverich Towers Hotel at Clark and Willow streets — and is still holding onto a handful of other digs it hasn’t put on the market.

Rabsky Group did not return requests for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 4:50 am, December 7, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Jack Jones from Brooklyn says:
For a good documentary on Jehovah's Witnesses from NBC Dateline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mot9TSrMTg8&t=316s
Dec. 8, 2016, 1:13 am
Jeff Jackson from Queens says:
They are selling it to insure against and pay off the massive amount of sexual abuse suits that are coming their way. Google: Australian Royal Commission Watchtower (they failed to report over 1000 cases of sexual abuse of minors by Australian church members for over 50 years). Only a matter of time before the Yanks start speaking up.
Dec. 8, 2016, 8:35 am
X-JWs United from DUMBO says:
The Watchtower Society is a CULT that has driven many to their deaths: https://www.facebook.com/xjwsunited
Dec. 11, 2016, 9:24 pm

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