The Real Deal New York

Watchtower tunnels unlikely to be around much longer

October 16, 2013 05:28PM

It’s true: a series of tunnels snakes under the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower buildings in Dumbo. But they will most likely be shut down in the wake of the Kushner Companies, RFR Realty and Invesco acquisition of the $375 million portfolio.

The Watchtower had ten-year agreements with the city Department of Transportation and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications that permitted the use of four tunnels beneath Orange and Willow streets and Columbia Heights, the Brooklyn Eagle reported. They used some of the passageways as thoroughfares for people and others for steam, electrical and telephone services.

While tunnels might be useful for something like student housing, the Kushner-RFR-Invesco partnership has already said they will be using the properties for office space, retail and a hotel.

Plus, fees for the use of the tunnels would likely rise every year. Watchtower, as a religious organization, didn’t have to fool with property taxes. The complex’s next buyers, most likely, won’t be so lucky. [Brooklyn Eagle]Julie Strickland

  • SoBe

    The information in this article isn’t accurate. Yes, the Witnesses have tunnels linking several of their residence buildings along Columbia Heights, Orange, Willow and Clark St. , but none of these properties have sold, or are even on the market. These buildings and tunnels are completely seperate from the 6 building complex that has sold in DUMBO. None of the buildings Kushner purchased have tunnel systems, instead they’re linked via sky bridges. Please check your facts first.