Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Jehovah's Witnesses sell The Towers, a storied Brooklyn Heights hotel
Jehovah's Witnesses sell The Towers, a storied Brooklyn Heights hotel
The Jehovah's Witnesses have sold The Towers, a storied Brooklyn Heights hotel. Photos courtesy of Jehovah's Witnesses
Purchaser will turn 21 Clark St. into seniors housing called The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Jehovah's Witnesses have sold one of the grand jewels of their real-estate portfolio for about $200 million.
The Towers, a former Brooklyn Heights Historic District hotel where the Dodgers lived and presidents gave speeches, will now be turned into seniors housing by its purchaser.
Built in the 1920s, the Leverich Towers Hotel, as it was originally known, has colonnaded towers on its four corners like a Venetian palazzo — a really big palazzo.
The 16-story, 313,768-square-foot property at 21 Clark St. played host in its heyday to the highest-paid Brooklyn Dodgers.
Only the stars of Brooklyn's since-departed baseball team were allowed to live in its splendid suites during baseball season. Other players lived elsewhere, including the Hotel Saint George in Brooklyn Heights.
President Harry Truman spoke at The Towers.
Advertisements called it “The Aristocrat of Brooklyn Hotels.” It was designed by Starrett & Van Vleck, the architecture firm that also designed Manhattan flagship stores for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
Later, the Watchtower, which owned the Towers for four decades, used the Clark Street property as a residence and dining hall for more than 1,000 people who worked at its nearby world headquarters.Here's The Towers' grand staircase, which echoes the grandeur of its early days as a hotel.
Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors is the purchaser
The Jehovah's Witnesses put the former hotel, which has frontage on Willow and Pineapple streets, up for sale in May 2016.
The purchaser, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, plans to transform The Towers into seniors housing and rename it The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights.
“Meticulously maintained since its inception in the late 1920s, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights epitomizes a Class A property with a unique redevelopment opportunity: To introduce modern, luxury living for seniors in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” Al Rabil, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors' managing partner and CEO, said in a press release.
The new owner is “committed to upholding the property's unique legacy,” Rabil said.
The Boca Raton-based investment firm is the real-estate private equity arm of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors L.P.
Watermark Retirement Communities, a nationwide operator of seniors housing communities, is partnering with Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors on The Towers' redevelopment.
The sale deed for the Towers has not yet appeared in city Finance Department records.
But according to the Wall Street Journal — which was the first to report The Towers' sale — the price was about $200 million.
The Watchtower paid $1,992,229.08 for The Towers in 1975, Finance Department records indicate.The Towers' rooftop terrace has views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.
Watchtower property sell-off moves closer to finish line
The sale of The Towers brings the Jehovah's Witnesses a big step closer to completing their years-long effort to liquidate their once-vast property portfolio in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.
The sell-off was precipitated by their decision to move their world headquarters to the upstate New York town of Warwick.
“For those of us who lived in Brooklyn Heights, we'll remember The Towers not just as a landmark building but as a beautiful and comfortable home,” Watchtower spokesman David Semonian said in a statement.
“With this most recent transaction, we close another chapter of our history in Brooklyn,” he said.
Other buyers of the religious organization's properties include the Kushner Cos., which spent about $1 billion with investor partners on Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO Watchtower purchases.
The firm was headed by Jared Kushner until he stepped aside to serve as senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.
The BORG, which stood for Brooklyn ORGanization, will remain like the fictional Star Trek race of conquerors in many ways. Maybe we will keep the B for "Billions." Ha.
I stayed once at the Towers before the WT bought it. Early 70’s
Absolutely Incredible. I just can't get my head around the wealth of this organisation. It's just mind blowing.
As a Catholic, I used to wonder if Jesus Christ would have sat on a tank in world war 2 fighting his disciples of another country. Matthew 26:52
As a Jehovah's Witness , I often wonder if Jesus would be one of those business men making a kill in real estate! Matthew 21:12-13
I had two rooms there T-211 and T-240
Since they made 198 million off of it I'm sure they will want to send me a check for the 4 years I spent there, when they only paid me .05 cents an hour.
The you for the report my dear Anderson's. This was all done on the backs of free labor. Yes I know they got room and board. The Chinese, India, and Japan at one time in the past consider labor had no value. Only the higher ups became prosperous. I believe this might be the WT thinking. As soon as those countries turned things around and started to pay for labor a large part of the countries began to prosper. The WT is still behind times thinking labor is not worth anything. So they will always prosper materially. Still Totally ADD
Would there be any reason for WT to hold onto/maintain this property?
Amazing how generous people are labor wise and monetarily when religions have robbed their minds and lives - WOW!
That should pay for a few child-abuse cover up law suits.....