Money, Money, Money...and Money, Money, Money
Don't be silly , there is no way you would get 50 flats on that site, 15 maximum, also the building is listed so pretty much can't be changed and also you wouldn't get consent for change of use from the local authority , and such a development would be strongly objected against by locals , and you would have to rehouse the 5 congregations or groups that use the hall, which means developing an equally expensive site.... Move along nothing to see here,
But there are two bedroom flats in the area for £2m £3.7m, so money to be made if permission was there.
This does beg a question-who does get halls? We hear of africans swimming across snake infested rivers to get to meetings, we hear of people in small towns having their halls closed and sent to bigger towns, driving many miles to get to a hall afterwards, we hear of multimillion dollar properties with 5 congregations in the middle of the most expensive neighborhood in London . . . halls can vary in price from maybe $50K in some small towns in the US to millions in a large urban area. A grass hut in Africa or small towns in Asia. Nice, very simple halls in more populated 3rd world countries. Total dives in the South Bronx (I have seen a couple many years ago and they were scary) Which JWs should get the multimillion dollar places of worship? Since the WT has taken over EVERYTHING, it actually seems very unegalitarian that anyone is crossing a river or a road that another does not have to. In this way, I can see the WTjustifiying going back to home meetings exclusively after they do (and they WILL) sell off most of the property. They can't allow a struggling small town congregation in the US to stay "alive" because it isn't self supporting. . . well-lets be fair! Mark my words(at least in pencil), there will soon be teachings about "home churches" or some such thing.
"Since the WT has taken over EVERYTHING, "
Not sure what you mean by this, " the WT' hasn't taken over anything, congregations are still independent charities, whose assets are still governed by the local members of the charity, the WT owns nothing, in the UK anyway. But it could be argued they are better placed to transfer ownership to other charities with similar objects - such as a centralised worldwide charity with very similar objects - Like - WT-USA. But this is really not a simple matter.
Kramer: you make some good points and I concede I was talking crap about 50 flats.
What I would say is.
A) The W.T bought this Chuch from the Church of England not primarily as a place of worship but as an investment. ( That to me is hypocracy)
(B) If I were to speculate today the building would sell for between 15 - 20 million.
(C) With preemption and speculation, that would be in the region of 40 million in only 10 years. ( Every 10 years for the last 100 years property value in this part of central London has risen over 110%,. In most of the UK property prises have only doubled every 10 years)
(D) If I were to sell this property I would target a foreign invester like a shriek. The fact is many rich Arabs spend billions on property in this area, and often the only reason for purchase is they want it. Much of the property in London is owned by foreigners this way.
(E) Of course the incentive to target foreign buyers would be hindered by the fact that in the last budget, the government got rid of a legal loophole and now foreign investors must pay capital gains tax on the sale of property. In short that would be 40% of the appreciation.
(F) Many listed buildings in this area were allowed to become pubs, and those pubs have since been sold to developers and converted in to residential flats. ( So I would imagine the same would apply with a church)
This property was purchased by the W.T, in my opinion because it was a good deal and religions get even better deals with tax on there investments. (Or should I say non tax)
A good deal and a purchase from the wild beast, false religion...
The Watchtoer is a business led organisation thats success was built on buying property not in the 3rd world but in the capitals of the world where property is an investment, Therefore your comment about "having to rehouse the 5 congregations" I would answer "when in poor countries many still have to share a W.T". So that is not in my mind a consideration to the W.T.