By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A proposed change in the status of the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights, a property owned by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses), will be considered by the Community Board 2 (CB 2) Land Use Committee on Wednesday, May 16, in Downtown Brooklyn.
The committee will hold a public hearing on a variance request application to be filed at the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) “to reconvert the Bossert Hotel back to its original transient hotel use,” according to a CB 2 announcement.
The application also asks to allow a waiver of the inner court requirements of the Multiple Dwelling Law.
A check of the upcoming BSA agendas revealed there is no record of the request.
“The application has not yet been filed at the Board,” Jeff Mulligan, executive director of the BSA, told the Eagle by email on Friday.
According to Rob Perris, CB 2 district manger, “No information can be made available until the [undisclosed] applicant meets with local elected officials.”
Also contacted on Friday, David Semonian, a spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, said in an email to the Eagle, “Sorry, we are not in a position to comment today.”
As has been reported, the religious group took over the Bossert Hotel in 1983, when it was in a state of disrepair, and renovated it in 1988. It was subsequently turned into a 224-room hotel where Witnesses visiting the organization’s world headquarters would stay.
Although the building was offered for sale — unsuccessfully — in the past, a New York Times article last November reported that the religious organization was no longer actively marketing the property.
Richard Devine, another official spokesperson for the Watchtower, also told the Times that five residents who lived there before 1983 continue to remain in their apartments.
The Land Use Committee meeting will take place 6 p.m. in Room LC400, of the Dibner Building at NYU-Polytechnic Institute, 5 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn.