Published On: Thu, Aug 4th, 2016

Kushner, CIM and LIVWRK close on Watchtower buy in Dumbo for $340 Million

Deal is among the largest ever completed in Brooklyn



A partnership led by Kushner Companies, CIM Group and LIVWRK has finalized a deal for the famed Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower building in Brooklyn,  The Real Deal has learned. The deal, one of the largest ever closed in the borough, valued at $340 million.

According to Kushner and LIVWRK have been rumored to be buying the 733, 000-square-foot headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights since April. Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding was initially slated to be a partner on the deal but multiple sources said he was no longer involved. Rosen could not be immediately reached for comment.

Commercial Observer reports that Watch Tower and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the governing arm of the Witnesses, is also in contract with the partnership to sell a separate 35, 000-square-foot site at 85 Jay Street between Front and York Streets for $300 million to $400 million, the source said. That site has 1.1 million square feet of development rights.  That deal has not yet closed.

Cunbed NY says that there have been rumors for months that Kushner and LIVWRK would scoop up the headquarters, alongside a developable site at 85 Jay Street, for as much as $700 million. (The partnership was also supposed to include Aby Rosen’s RFR Holdings but TRD hears that he is no longer involved.) While the team paid $340 million for the headquarters, they have yet to close on the 35, 000-square-foot site at 85 Jay. That is likely to bring in big bucks: the parcel comes with 1.1 million square feet of as-of development rights, meaning they could build something like the supertall towers of 57th Street without a formal approval process.

In 2013, Kushner and LIVWRK they paid $345 million for five buildings owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and have since spent more than $100 million gut renovating them into a 1 million-square foot office campus known as Dumbo Heights.

“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, ” Jared Kushner, the CEO of Kushner Cos., said in a statement. “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.”


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