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  1. Call it a religious conversion. A billionaire pal of President Trump will transform a former Jehovah’s Witnesses dormitory in Brooklyn Heights into a residential complex after the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the plans on Aug. 8. Vincent Viola — TrumpÂ’s first choice for Secretary of the Army — is turning the 237-unit property on Columbia Heights between Pineapple and Orange streets into an apartment house with 101 residences, according to city records. Changes to the exterior of the building, which sits in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, required approval from the landmarks commission in order to ensure they are in keeping with the nabeÂ’s old-timey character. Exterior alterations include the addition of a parking garage with an elevator for cars, which will have a bulkhead on the roof. In addition, workers will carve an opening for the garage door into the buildingÂ’s facade and make a curb cut in the sidewalk. The new owner is also planning to replace the current windows with aluminum ones, as first reported by the Brooklyn Eagle. The Williamsburg-born Viola is the head of trading firm Virtu Financial, the owner the Florida Panthers hockey team, and a part owner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby–winning horse, Always Dreaming. The former lieutenant withdrew himself from consideration for the position of TrumpÂ’s army secretary because of concerns over of his business entanglements. He bought the Columbia Heights building in 2016 for $105 million through a limited liability company overseen by his wife, according to city records. Viola isnÂ’t the only Trump crony snatching up JehovahÂ’s Witnesses properties as the organization moves its headquarters to upstate New York. The presidentÂ’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, owns retail and office complex Dumbo Heights, recently revealed plans to turn the religious groupÂ’s former Columbia Heights headquarters into another high-end office complex, and bought a massive parking lot at 85 Jay St., which he has yet to file plans for. Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill Updated 1:15 pm, August 16, 2017 Bigly: Trump pal Vincent Viola is planning to turn this former JehovahÂ’s Witnesses dorm building into apartments. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/40/33/dtg-vincent-viola-develops-brooklyn-heights-building-2017-08-18-bk.html
  2. The 11-story building with a massive courtyard is located at 107 Columbia Heights BY TANAY WARERKAR FEB 15, 2017, 10:00AM EST Nearly a year after it came on the market, a Jehovah’s Witnesses-owned rental building in Brooklyn Heights has sold for $87.5 million, The Real Deal reports. Though a pretty pricey sale in itself, it’s significantly less than the $185 millionsome real estate websites had predicted it would sell for. Clipper Realty, the developer behind the failed condo conversion of the Sony building, is the buyer behind this Brooklyn Heights sale, and is the latest among big name developers to scoop up a Jehovah’s Witnesses property. The building, located at 107 Columbia Heights, is an 11-story building and comes with a massive landscaped courtyard. The folks at Clipper Realty told TRD that they plan to convert part of this courtyard into additional apartments. The sale is expected to close in May this year. The Witnesses have been rapidly decamping from their onetime Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo stronghold as they make their way to their new base in Warwick, N.Y. Over the course of the last year, they sold the iconic Watchtower Building for $340 million to CIM Group, Kushner Companies, and LIVWRK, , and they also sold a massive parking lot to Kushner Companies at 85 Jay Street, among other sales. http://ny.curbed.com/2017/2/15/14622876/jehovahs-witnesses-brooklyn-heights-rental-sale
  3. NUEVA YORK (Estados Unidos). El martes 26 de abril de 2016, los testigos de Jehová cerraron la venta del inmueble situado en el número 124 de la calle Columbia Heights de Brooklyn (Nueva York). El edificio residencial, que tiene una emblemática torre en la azotea y consta de más de 14.100 metros cuadrados (unos 152.000 pies cuadrados), está situado en la entrada norte del paseo Brooklyn Heights. Se puso en venta en diciembre de 2015 y, después de un proceso de subasta muy disputado, se seleccionó a un comprador que nunca había adquirido una propiedad de los Testigos. Los edificios de la calle Columbia Heights números 122 y 124 antes de ser reformados por los Testigos Desde 1856 hasta 1881, el antiguo edificio de ladrillo rojo y cuatro plantas situado en el número 124 fue la residencia del conocido abolicionista y pastor de la Iglesia Plymouth, Henry Ward Beecher. El periódico The New York Timesescribió lo siguiente sobre la importancia histórica de la propiedad: “Se dice que fue en esta casa en la que el presidente Lincoln visitó a Henry Ward Beecher poco antes de firmar la Proclamación de Emancipación”. Los Testigos compraron la propiedad en mayo de 1909, y más adelante adquirieron otros edificios contiguos para crear el complejo de diez plantas que hoy abarca toda la manzana. Richard Devine, un portavoz de los testigos de Jehová, comenta: “El número 124 de Columbia Heights ha formado parte del patrimonio de nuestra organización. Desde 1909, se ha utilizado principalmente para alojar al personal de la central mundial. Y de 1929 a 1957, a excepción de cuatro años, sirvió como sede de nuestra antigua estación de radio, la WBBR, que transmitía charlas bíblicas, entre otros programas”. Estudio de la emisora de radio WBBR en los años cincuenta, situado en el número 124 de Columbia Heights Aunque los Testigos han formado parte de la vida de Brooklyn Heights durante más de cien años, la primera sede de la entidad Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society se estableció en la década de 1880 en Allegheny, hoy parte de Pittsburgh (Pensilvania). David Semonian, portavoz de la central mundial de los testigos de Jehová, afirma: “El traslado en 1919 a una zona portuaria como Brooklyn fue fundamental en aquel momento para acelerar nuestra obra de educación bíblica y expandirla por todo el mundo”. La venta del edificio situado en el 124 de la calle Columbia Heights es el último avance en el proceso de reubicación de la central mundial de los Testigos en Warwick (Nueva York). Estas instalaciones, localizadas en un terreno de unas 20 hectáreas (casi 50 acres), pronto estarán terminadas. David Semonian dice: “La mudanza a este nuevo complejo, hecho a medida para nosotros en el estado de Nueva York, es exactamente lo que necesitamos ahora. Brooklyn ha sido nuestro hogar durante más de un siglo, y Warwick será nuestro hogar en una nueva era de la historia de los Testigos”. Contacto para la prensa: David Semonian, Oficina de Información Pública, tel. +1 718 560 5000

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