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3rd of 8 Available Watchtower Residential Buildings Sells

By Linda Collins

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The third of eight Brooklyn Heights residential properties for sale by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses) — including three listed with Massey Knakal Realty Services and five with The Corcoran Group Brooklyn — has sold.

Robert Knakal, chairperson of Massey Knakal, reports that the five-story walk-up apartment building at 161 Columbia Heights sold for $3 million to Sugar Hill Capital Partners, an investment and management firm.

David Semonian, a spokesperson in the religious organization’s public information office, confirmed the sale Monday.

Previously, Knakal, along with Stephen Palmese, director of sales in the Brooklyn office, sold a Witnesses-owned multi-family building at 50 Orange St., corner of Orange and Hicks streets, for $7.1 million in January to the same buyer, Sugar Hill.

The firm’s one remaining listing, a seven-story apartment building with 13 apartments at 183 Columbia Heights, which had an asking price of $7.1 million, is also close to being sold, according to Knakal.

“It’s under contract and should close in about a month,” Knakal told the Eagle, noting that the 161 Columbia Heights property attracted 27 offers.

“The interest has been tremendous in these buildings. We have had around 150 people coming through to see them,” he said.

The Corcoran Group Brooklyn, which has the other five listings, reported the sale of one of them in February — a carriage house at 165 Columbia Heights which sold for $4.1 million. Its original asking price was $4.5 million, according to Corcoran’s Ellen Newman, who is handling the five listings along with colleague Lisa Detwiler.

Both Newman and Knakal have noted that the properties have all been maintained to “the incredibly high standards” for which  Watchtower is known.

Speaking of 161 Columbia Heights, Knakal said, “This beautiful property has been immaculately maintained since the prior owner purchased the property in 1988.”

The 6,273-square-foot residential building, which has a cellar level providing an additional 1,240 square feet, contains seven fair-market units, one rent-stabilized unit and two rent-controlled units.


Heights, DUMBO Properties

As the Eagle has reported, the Witnesses are selling the buildings because of a planned move of their world headquarters from Brooklyn to Warwick, N.Y.

Prior to these three sales, the religious organization reported it had 34 properties totalling 3.4 million square feet to be disposed of in the Heights and DUMBO: four parking lots, 17 residential buildings and 13 buildings that are in manufacturing zones, including its world headquarters complex at 25 and 30 Columbia Heights and the tower at 90 Sands St. that is zoned as a hotel.

March 19, 2012 - 5:11pm


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