Despite lucrative offers, Witnesses’ Dumbo parcel not for sale

November 20, 2013 05:00PM

Developers are lusting after a Jehovah’s Witnesses parcel in Dumbo that is, for the moment, not for sale — despite the best efforts of would-be buyers to pry 85 Jay Street out of the Witnesses’ hands for as much as $400 per buildable square foot, or potentially $352 million.

The prime locale, bordered by York, Jay, Front and Bridge streets and occupying a full block, is zoned for 880,000 buildable square feet — all of which can be residential, as The Real Deal previously reported.

“This is the last great site in Dumbo,” one unnamed source told the Brooklyn Eagle, also noting that building on the spot would be a breeze thanks to ample room for a construction office, cranes and concrete trucks. Construction costs are expected to be less than $400 per square foot, including interest on the construction loan, taxes and broker fees.

For now, the site is a parking lot lined by a metal fence topped with razor wire.

“Since the recent October sale of our five buildings in Dumbo, several qualified real estate developers have expressed interest in purchasing 85 Jay Street,” David Semonian, a Watchtower spokesman, told the Brooklyn Eagle via email. “However, 85 Jay Street is not for sale at this time because of our need to continue using the property.” [Brooklyn Eagle]Julie Strickland