High priced Kingdom Halls

by JWD 44 Replies latest jw friends

  • Jerry Blavett
    Jerry Blavett

    In our area it costs 50.00 per sq.ft. at the most for new home
    construction, and with many new homes this includes the lot. I can say this with certainty as we just checked into building a new home.
    Materials purchased cost the contractor about 1/2 of the total price-ask any contractor. Consider:

    *Present size of our new Kingdom Hall = 4,000 square ft.
    *Total cost for building alone = 210,000.00
    *Cost per/square ft.= 52.50

    To put it simply: If we were to pay for "Just Materials" cost would
    = 105,000.00 at the most. Yet amount being paid to the Society
    = 210,000.00 which is more than we would have paid the most expensive
    contractor in area!

    Disturbing isn't it oh great builder of chicken coops!

  • metatron

    Maybe somebody here knows about the Assembly Hall at
    Turnersville - it was a real fiasco, with incompetence
    and cost overruns. Finally, the Society appointed
    a brother to straighten it all out. The assembly hall at
    Henrietta was a joke too - the final cost didn't even
    come close to what the congregations were told - it was
    like a Defense Dept. project. The geniuses who put it
    together insisted on expensive marble - even on the floors
    which caused spills so years afterwards that had to be changed.
    Many projects have suffered from the same collective arrogance
    that afflicts this organization in other ways. If you come
    up with cheaper alternatives that are practical and offer
    durability, you get treated like you recommended apostasy-
    "But these materials are approved by the SOCIETY!"


  • Seeker

    I'm trying to figure out the truth of the matter here, as this is a topic of interest to me. I worked on Hall construction crews, but never saw the money end of the deal. Therefore I cannot say if the Society is gouging the local congregations or not. I have to go based on what others say, and so I need to question people in this thread to try to figure out what is true.
    So you did some cost calculations based on home building, but would that apply to commercial construction projects? I would think the building code would be much more stringent for a public building than for a home. Would that mean higher costs? I would expect so.
    Without doubting your math or sincerity, how do you know those calculations hold true for a Kingdom Hall project?

  • JWD

    Here in Japan building in general tends to be expensive, so recently
    a lot of construction companies are importing materials from the U.S.
    Lumber,etc. from the States can be as little as one third the cost of
    Japanese materials. One good friend of mine just had his house built
    using American lumber and the work was done by a friend of his, so
    there were no labor costs. The total cost was $50,000. That`s a house
    with kitchen,bath,etc. By contrast the society builds kHs with imported materials from the U.S. They are basically a `box` with a
    bathroom and a separate room for literature. Naturally the bros. do
    the work so there should be no labor costs and yet the bill is $180,000. Anyone who has looked into it realizes that they are way
    overpriced. But naturally it`s un-theocratic to say that... JWD

  • Seeker

    Again, though, isn't this an apples-and-organges comparison, to note the costs for a private home and compare that to a commercial property? Now if a neighboring church was built for $50,000, I would agree with you 100%.

  • slipnslidemaster

    The Geeter with the Heater?

  • Liberated

    We were commended in a KM for our contributions into the building fund which made it possible for poorer congregations in Europe and Africa to have KH's built.

    What they left out of the KM is that the Society LOANs the money from the building fund to these poorer congregations which then pay that money back, with interest. So our contributions weren't helping those congregations at all; they were providing the funds for the Society to loan at interest. Our contributions go into the building fund, the loan payment and interest goes back into the fund, and donations from those in the congregations which borrowed the money goes into the fund.

    And maybe there's isn't anything wrong with that....

    But why commend us for money? I could see it if the money was actually GIVEN to those congregations for the building of the hall and didn't need to be paid back.

    It's like, "Thank you for giving me your money; it made it possible for your neighbor to have a house and food for his family. Oh, btw, he's paying it back to me, with interest."

    who is no financial wizard, but is this new math?

  • JWD

    To Seeker:
    I appreciate your concerns regarding `facts`. I can`t speak for
    what is happening everywhere, but as far as Japan is concerned,
    unlike the US, the building codes are very minimal and KHs are not
    high priced due to some kind of superior quality. If anything
    they are adequate, but inferior in design and quality to other construction.
    The greater concern here is perhaps not so much whether or not the
    society is making money, but rather the false images being presented.
    Anyone who has looked throught the Proclaimers book and seen all the
    glossy photos of large buildings and tracks of land the WT owns has
    had the question run through their mind of `So, where is all the money
    coming from to aquire all this stuff and keep it operating`. There seems to be a disconnect at this point. One the one hand the WT projects the image of being a religion which is not interested in
    taking people`s money and to reinforce that image there is frequent
    bashing of other religion`s financial excesses. Yet at the same time the `visible` success of the WT via buidlings,etc. is@held up as a sign of Jehovah`s blessing. In Japan, in the last three@years congregations have been closing (238 in all) and KH leases have
    been given up due to lack of funds at the local level. Yet, the
    headquarters is finishing up a major building project. The local
    bros and sisters are kept poor, while the org. is still expanding.
    Another issue of concern is exactly what you pointed out;namely,
    `What is actually going on with the money?` It`s difficult to get the
    facts, because the org. doesn`t tell the facts. Annual financial
    reports AREN`T AVAILABLE. They are for companys and for most religious
    organizations. Yet, the WT keeps the figures secret. They want to maintain the image of not being interested in money. If the org. is
    making big bucks, why not be open and say `WE`RE MAKING BIG BUCKS`.
    Why hide behind a facade of altruism while the very size of the buildings themselves speak volumnes regarding finances. Looking at
    things objectively, I think it`s fair to say that the majority of
    policy decisions (new light) are due to legal issues, growth issues
    or financial issues. JWD

  • LDH

    <<<nodding head in agreement with Metatron>>>>>

    I spent COUNTLESS hours building the Henrietta Assembly Hall. I know intimately about the costs that escalated due to certain peoples 'desire' for something that was 'a glory to Jehovah's name'. All of the expensive kitchen equipment that was put in; and stopped being used less than a year or so later.

    No one could convince me that the Society didn't know WAY earlier that the 'eating plan' would be 'simplified.' They could've told the RBC that so all that money wouldn't have been wasted.

    Yeah, good idea. Put expensive marble in the entry way hall of an Upstate New York assembly hall. I can't tell you how many people came in with snow and ice on their shoes and fell. OUTRAGEOUS.

  • Oldhippie

    I was the congregation accounts servant when we built our quickly built hall approximately 5 years ago. The Society had OK'd us for a loan of about 100k. The final tally for the completed hall was about 77k. That did not include price of the land as that was donated. The Society reworked our loan to 77k, thus reducing our monthly payment. Except for reimbursing some brothers for personal expenses, which were minor, all of the bills I paid were for various vendors, some brothers,some not. I never saw anything that looked suspicious or out of line. Many of the vendors gave discounts. I would imagine that in many areas, the cost of the land could be more than the cost of the building.
    Just my own observations.

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