The Real Deal New York

Vornado, Silverstein among potential bidders for Jehovah’s Witnesses complex

L&L Holding, Taconic and others looking into “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”

February 16, 2016 09:32AM

Watchtower Steven Roth Larry Silverstein

Rendering of 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights (credit: Jehovah’s Witnesses) (Inset from left: Steven Roth and Larry Silverstein)

UPDATED: Feb. 16, 8:37 p.m.: The city’s biggest office landlords – and just about everyone else – are set to bid on the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ slate of massive Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights properties.

Vornado Realty Trust TRData LogoTINY, Silverstein Properties, L&L Holding and Taconic Investment Partners are all among the Witnesses’ suitors, requesting detailed statements about the properties and signing confidentiality agreements, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

Dozens of other firms based in the US and abroad are also inquiring, including the likes of Megalith Capital Management and Alloy Development.

“The market as a whole is looking at this transaction as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ofer Cohen, president of TerraCRG, told Bloomberg. “Every Manhattan office player is going to bid on this asset.”

The Witnesses are planning a move to Warwick, New York after over a century in Brooklyn. The group is marketing a portfolio that includes its 733,000-square-foot Watchtower world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights.

Bids on that building are due Tuesday, Richard Devine, a spokesperson for the Witnesses, told Bloomberg. It could sell for as much as $500 million, Cohen told the news service.

Other properties on offer include a 152,000-square-foot residential building at 124 Columbia Heights and a development site at 85 Jay Street that spans a city block. Bids on the former site were received on Feb. 11. In all, the properties could go for $900 million or more. [Bloomberg]Ariel Stulberg

Correction: A previous version of this article said the Witnesses had been in Brooklyn for nearly half a decade. They arrived in 1909.