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  1. Purchaser will turn 21 Clark St. into seniors housing called The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle The Jehovah's Witnesses have sold one of the grand jewels of their real-estate portfolio for about $200 million. The Towers, a former Brooklyn Heights Historic District hotel where the Dodgers lived and presidents gave speeches, will now be turned into seniors housing by its purchaser. Built in the 1920s, the Leverich Towers Hotel, as it was originally known, has colonnaded towers on its four corners like a Venetian palazzo — a really big palazzo. The 16-story, 313,768-square-foot property at 21 Clark St. played host in its heyday to the highest-paid Brooklyn Dodgers. Only the stars of Brooklyn's since-departed baseball team were allowed to live in its splendid suites during baseball season. Other players lived elsewhere, including the Hotel Saint George in Brooklyn Heights. President Harry Truman spoke at The Towers. Advertisements called it “The Aristocrat of Brooklyn Hotels.” It was designed by Starrett & Van Vleck, the architecture firm that also designed Manhattan flagship stores for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Later, the Watchtower, which owned the Towers for four decades, used the Clark Street property as a residence and dining hall for more than 1,000 people who worked at its nearby world headquarters. Here's The Towers' grand staircase, which echoes the grandeur of its early days as a hotel. Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors is the purchaser The Jehovah's Witnesses put the former hotel, which has frontage on Willow and Pineapple streets, up for sale in May 2016. The purchaser, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, plans to transform The Towers into seniors housing and rename it The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. “Meticulously maintained since its inception in the late 1920s, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights epitomizes a Class A property with a unique redevelopment opportunity: To introduce modern, luxury living for seniors in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” Al Rabil, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors' managing partner and CEO, said in a press release. The new owner is “committed to upholding the property's unique legacy,” Rabil said. The Boca Raton-based investment firm is the real-estate private equity arm of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors L.P. Watermark Retirement Communities, a nationwide operator of seniors housing communities, is partnering with Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors on The Towers' redevelopment. The sale deed for the Towers has not yet appeared in city Finance Department records. But according to the Wall Street Journal — which was the first to report The Towers' sale — the price was about $200 million. The Watchtower paid $1,992,229.08 for The Towers in 1975, Finance Department records indicate.  The Towers' rooftop terrace has views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Watchtower property sell-off moves closer to finish line The sale of The Towers brings the Jehovah's Witnesses a big step closer to completing their years-long effort to liquidate their once-vast property portfolio in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. The sell-off was precipitated by their decision to move their world headquarters to the upstate New York town of Warwick. “For those of us who lived in Brooklyn Heights, we'll remember The Towers not just as a landmark building but as a beautiful and comfortable home,” Watchtower spokesman David Semonian said in a statement. “With this most recent transaction, we close another chapter of our history in Brooklyn,” he said. Other buyers of the religious organization's properties include the Kushner Cos., which spent about $1 billion with investor partners on Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO Watchtower purchases. The firm was headed by Jared Kushner until he stepped aside to serve as senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.  http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2017/11/1/jehovahs-witnesses-sell-towers-storied-brooklyn-heights-hotel
  2. THE vast Jehovah Witness UK headquarters under construction near Galleywood has been praised by a building watchdog. Inspectors from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) – an independent building watchdog – have commended the International Bible Students Association (IBSA) for its presentation and working methods on the Temple Farm site. The glowing report came as IBSA announced groundworks to the £150 million development will begin between September and December. Once complete, it will provide homes for 1,200 Jehovah Witnesses across 16 five-storey blocks. A large printing plant, offices, auditorium, health and fitness centre, water treatment plant and on-site parking for 1,040 vehicles are also in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Temple Grove Park, which lies to the east of the site, is being remodelled to accommodate a wildflower meadow for residents to relax in. In its latest newsletter, IBSA said it will continue to work hard until the project is complete. “The report included the following observations. “This is a very well presented site. “Working methods are planned to minimise the impact of vibration, noise and dust as far as possible. “The organisation looked for opportunities for training of female operatives. “Eleven of the 15 heavy plant operators are female,” it said. CCS awarded the site a total of 38 out of 50, before granting it a Certificate of Performance Beyond Compliance. BT Openreach and a number of other companies have started work on road access into the site. Temporary 40mph speed restrictions are in place along the B1007 near the Bakers Lane junction, which should last another four weeks. The restrictions are due to the preparation of a new roundabout, pedestrian crossing, cycle path and bus shelters, recently approved by Essex Highways. Earlier this year, IBSA representatives attended Stock and West Hanningfield Annual General Meetings, where they answered a series of questions regarding the development. A spokesman said: "Feedback received from these meetings is of value to us, enabling us to address any concerns raised by those in the community." http://www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk/news/billericaynews/14683094.Jehovah__39_s_Witness_HQ_receives_glowing_report_following_building_inspection/
  3. By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle Change is coming to Brooklyn Heights. These two buildings, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights, are part of the just-sold Watchtower headquarters complex. Watchtower workers are about to start moving out of their iconic headquarters, where their organization's name has been glowing in red-neon light for almost a half-century. The Jehovah's Witnesses just sold their headquarters complex at 25-30 Columbia Heights for $340 million to a joint venture that includes a company headed by Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The buyers are a joint venture of Kushner Companies, CIM Group and LIVWRK. A spokesman for the Watchtower told the Brooklyn Eagle that personnel at the Brooklyn Heights headquarters will start moving out of the complex in earnest in September. The move-out will continue, department by department, through the early months of next year, he said. The religious group is heading to upstate Warwick, N.Y., where it has constructed a new headquarters facility. It has spent the past several years liquidating its enormous portfolio of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO properties to prepare for the move. In an announcement Friday, the Watchtower called the sale of its Brooklyn Heights complex one of its most significant steps in the relocation of its world headquarters. The headquarters sale marks the end of an era for Brooklyn Heights, where the Jehovah's Witnesses have had a presence for a century. They had owned the headquarters buildings since 1969. A Watchtower spokesman, David Semonian, said in the announcement, “25-30 Columbia Heights will always be part of our legacy as well as the rich history of Brooklyn.” The just-sold headquarters complex is approximately 733,608 gross square feet in size and covers nearly two city blocks. It includes three other connected buildings, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights and 55 Furman St. They all predate the Brooklyn Bridge, the Watchtower announcement noted. Another Jehovah's Witnesses spokesman, Richard Devine, recalled why the organization had purchased the headquarters buildings from pharmaceutical giant E.R. Squibb & Sons. “We needed more space to accommodate our rapidly expanding operations, and we wanted to consolidate our offices, which at the time were scattered among several buildings in Brooklyn,” he said. Farewell to the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are moving out of their world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights. Photos courtesy of Jehovah's Witnesses These two buildings, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights, are part of the just-sold Watchtower headquarters complex. This is 55 Furman St., which also is part of the headquarters complex that the Jehovah's Witnesses will be leaving. http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/8/5/jehovahs-witnesses-will-start-moving-out-brooklyn-heights-headquarters-september
  4. Residents to move into a 'green' facility this September WARWICK — The new Jehovah's Witnesses World Headquarters located in Sterling Forest will be completed in August, thanks to the help of more than 25,000 volunteers from across the country who contributed to its construction. Some of the volunteers have stayed at the site since ground breaking three years ago, such as spokesperson for Jehovah's Witnesses, Richard Devine, and his wife, while others have come for a week or a three-day weekend. With more than 1.2 million Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States, many of which own construction businesses or work in construction, there is a high skill level working on the project. “As Jehovah's Witnesses,” Devine said, “we feel it's a real privilege to help with the building of the headquarters.” The entire campus, which borders Sterling Forest Lake (Blue Lake), consists of eight buildings, including four residence buildings and a large office building, where the 800 to 850 Witnesses will live and work. There are also two maintenance buildings and a parking garage. Those that will be living at the 1.6 million square-foot world headquarters will start moving in this September, with the entire Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society slowly moving out of Brooklyn, the organization's location since 1909. Residents all have taken a vow to be members of a religious order, according to Devine, and as they accomplish their ministerial work in connection with the headquarters, the order in turn provides housing, meals, health care, and a small allowance each month to cover incidental expenses, like toothpaste and socks. And as far as children, Devine said that even though Jehovah's Witnesses in general are very family-oriented, the world headquarters staff is made up of only single or married adults. If any couples decide to have children, they would leave and settle down to a more traditional home life elsewhere. There is no stigma attached to deciding to have children and no longer living at the headquarters, he said, and it is considered to be a personal decision. “It's a way of life that's different than most,” Devine said, “but it is very rewarding.” 'Going green' One of the goals for the world headquarters campus was to make it efficient, both for workers getting around and energy efficiency. The first was accomplished through connecting the buildings with covered walkways, some of which are above ground while others are below. Devine said this helps workers easily get around the campus, especially elderly residents in the winter. Being an energy efficient campus was created in a number of ways, one of which was through storm water control. “We're not allowed to release storm water at any faster rate than it was in it's natural setting,” Devine said, “so we've incorporated things like this permeable paving ... and there's a couple feet of gravel below this so as the rain comes, it will just immediately go back into groundwater and won't runoff into the streams.” There is also a large amount of underground water storage. Around the lake, there is a double row of black silt fencing, which keeps mud and dirt from flowing into the lake, and keeps the rattlesnakes out. As far as the landscaping around the campus, Devine said they were not allowed to use any plants that are not native to Sterling Forest. And one of the most “green” additions to the headquarters is the installation of a growing medium on all of the flat roofs, containing little succulents and other similar plants. “The whole idea is when it rains, the roof holds the moisture up here and then the plants can aspirate it over time,” Devine said. “By and large, we like to hold in as much water as we can and then that avoids having to discharge it into the streams or into our underground storage.” There's also a geothermal field on site. Using about 125 wells, each 500 feet deep, in the wintertime, the system pulls heat from the ground used to heat the buildings and make hot water, and in the summertime, heat is put into the ground. With just one plant providing heating and air conditioning to all eight buildings, it is more energy efficient and requires less personnel. With all of this green technology installed, according to the headquarters' engineers, the site will most likely receive four green globes, the highest rating given by the Green Building Initiative, an organization similar to LEED. Aspects like the use of recycled materials, construction practices, the use of green roofs, landscaping and storm water retention are all taken into account. Why Warwick? The main features that drew the Watch Tower Society to the Warwick property were its size and location, according to Devine. The property is 253 acres but only between 40 and 50 acres were used to build. It's not too far from the city, so there's easy access for intrastate and international visitors. It's also in a scenic location near a lake, creating an aspect of privacy, Devine said, with shopping for the residents still close by. Traffic to and from the site will be minimal, since residents work on site, except for visitors, which Devine said they expect to have quite a few. Another important component is that there's a lot of local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Northern New Jersey and Southern New York. “All of our staff support local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses,” Devine said. “So they'll travel quite a distance actually to worship with our neighbors. I go to a congregation up here in Monroe. But right here is kind of an ideal location because you have Northern Jersey with all the suburbs and we have many congregations nearby, so it just works out really well.” With the group beginning to move out of Brooklyn, the Jehovah's Witnesses sold their longest-held building in Brooklyn, 124 Columbia Heights, with its iconic tower atop the roof, for $105 million in April, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. And according to the New York Post, the 733,000-square-foot world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and the 1.1-million square-foot as-of-right development site at 85 Jay St. were sold for $700 million. These were among the 16 properties the organization owned in Brooklyn, which will all eventually be sold. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society also has a location in the Ulster County hamlet of Wallkill, where many of their printing services are located. This large complex includes residence buildings as well. Neighbors Even though the Watch Tower Society is a tax-exempt organization, Devine said, “We try to be good neighbors.” And the response from the community has been positive, Devine said. “I think everybody was wondering who are these people and how can you build something like this using volunteers,” Devine said. “And I think everyone, including the building department, was skeptical. But we've won them over and the quality of the work, I feel, is very, very high.” According to Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, the group has been exceptional throughout the whole planning and building process. “They did everything the planning board asked them to do, they have been exemplary really in their construction activities,” Sweeton said. “We've had a monitor on site pretty much the entire time and our building inspector also visits a couple times a week. And everything that we've ever asked or wanted, they've done.” The Witnesses have also helped with certain public facilities in town. When Warwick needed some material to build one of last sports fields out at Union Corners Park, Sweeton said he contacted the Watch Tower Society. The group responded by providing all of the material the town needed as well as hydroseeding the soil, which allowed the grass to come in very nicely and much more quickly than had the town done the work - all at no cost to taxpayers. Devine said that the group also has built a press box at the Little League field near the headquarters. There are also basketball courts and picnic pavilions being built on the property because part of the group's agreement with the town was to have on site recreation, helping to avoid overloading the town's' parks with additional residents. Currently, the Watch Tower Society is working with a Greenwood Lake Boy Scout Troop to refurbish the east shore of Greenwood Lake, offering their assistance in terms of material and volunteer trade help. As far as impact on the town economically, Sweeton said that because the site itself was tax-exempt already, tax-wise, the headquarters won't have a huge impact on the town. The Watch Tower Society also is providing some on site medical services and have made arrangements with the Greenwood Lake Fire District; it is also working with the Tuxedo Fire District. If any of the Headquarters residents decide to move off site to have children, they then would pay taxes and their children would likely go to the Tuxedo school district. “The town has been great to deal with,” Devine said. “They've been very open and honest with us, we've tried to be open and honest with them, and I think we've got a great relationship.” As soon as the facility is completely done and the bible museum, which will be part of the headquarters, is finished, Devine said they will begin giving free tours to visitors, probably next spring. The bible museum will feature a first edition King James Bible printed in 1611. “We look forward to inviting the whole community to come,” Devine said, “and probably have a big invitation campaign that will welcome everybody.” Who are the witnesses? About 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide 1.2 million Jehovah's Witnesses in United States The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is the nonprofit corporation formed in 1884 under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is used by Jehovah's Witnesses to support their worldwide work, which includes publishing bibles and bible-based literature. Basic beliefs: The Bible: All Scripture is inspired of God. The Creator: The true God has given himself a personal name—Jehovah—that distinguishes him from false gods Jesus Christ: He is the Savior, “the Son of God,” and “the firstborn of all creation.” God's Kingdom: There is a heavenly government with a King—Jesus Christ—and 144,000 corulers, who are “bought from the earth.” They will rule over the earth, which will be cleansed of all wickedness and will be inhabited by many millions of God-fearing humans. Bible prophecy: What God foretells always comes true, including the Bible prophecies concerning the end of the present world. Preaching: It is an honor to share “the good news of the kingdom.” Whether people listen or not is their own choice. Secular authorities: Obey the laws of the land when these do not conflict with God's laws. Source: jw.org Source: http://www.chroniclenewspaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20160609/NEWS01/160609944
  5. Video: Planned headquarters in  Warwick Wallkill Expansion Update (Low).mp4
  6. The Jehovah's Witnesses have just put onto the sale market a development site in the heart of DUMBO, 69 Adams St. The building that now occupies the site has a four-story recreational facility and an 84-space parking garage. Its rooftop is graced with an open-air tennis court — which is topped by a fence so cars and pedestrians down below don't accidentally get pelted with over-exuberantly hit balls. The Watchtower recently posted the sale offering online without alerting reporters. According to the posting, 69 Adams St. is “a 157,410-square-foot development opportunity adjacent to the iconic Manhattan Bridge.” The Jehovah's Witnesses did not offer any comment about their sale offering to the Brooklyn Eagle when asked about it. They did give the Eagle permission to publish their images of 69 Adams St. Zoned for as-of-right residential development The city Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn't have any control over what is built at 69 Adams St. because it is located outside the neighborhood's historic districts. Because of the site's zoning, “a new luxury residential tower with commercial, community facility and retail uses” can be built as-of-right, the Watchtower's online description of the site notes. The religious organization, which has had a major presence in the area for more than a century, is in the throes of selling off its once enormous property portfolio in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. That's because the Jehovah's Witnesses are relocating their headquarters to upstate Warwick, N.Y. The 69 Adams St. site has 103 feet of Front Street frontage. It's caddy-corner to upscale food market Foragers, and shares its block with a handsome residential tower, 85 Adams St. If a residential tower is built at 69 Adams St., it will have views of Lower Manhattan's skyscrapers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the East River and the Midtown Manhattan skyline. According to city Finance Department records, the site has belonged to the Watchtower since 1991, when the organization purchased it from LI Machine & Pattern Works Inc. Another Watchtower property recently sold for $105 Mil The Jehovah's Witnesses began a new round of property offerings this past December. Since then, the organization has closed on the $105 million sale of 124 Columbia Heights, a 10-story residential building on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, to Florida Panthers hockey team owner Vincent Viola, Finance Department records indicate. Also, the Watchtower has made a handshake deal to sell its Brooklyn Heights headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and a nearly 1 million-square-foot development site at 85 Jay St. in DUMBO for roughly $700 million, the New York Postpreviously reported. The buyer is Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. In addition to 69 Adams St., the other Watchtower property that's currently available for sale is 107 Columbia Heights, a 154,000-plus square-foot residential property in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. Several other Watchtower properties in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO have not yet been put up for sale. Source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/5/16/jehovahs-witnesses-put-69-adams-st-dumbo-sale

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