Sold! Watchtower’s Residential 183 Columbia Heights Moves For $6.6M

As expected, a fourth Brooklyn Heights residential property on the market by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has sold. BHB reported in late March that 183 Columbia Heights, then asking $7.1 million, was close to contract after attracting 27 offers, according to the building’s listing agent Massey Knakal Realty Services.

The Real Deal reported Monday that an unidentified investor group has purchased the vacant 183 Columbia Heights between Clark and Pierrepoint streets for $6.6 million, 14% below the asking price. The group plans to turn the seven-story, 13-unit building, into luxury rentals.

The Witnesses have owned 183 Columbia Heights since 1986, according to public records, as noted by Crain’s New York Business. The property features 10-foot ceilings, a bike room and laundry room. David Mitchell, a managing member of the group, said they will invest an undisclosed amount of money into work in the building, before leasing begins this summer.

“Our clients were very pleased with the results,” Massey Knakal Chairman Bob Knakal told Crain’s. The firm has marketed three Jehovah’s Witnesses properties: 161 Columbia Heights, which Sugar Hill Capital Partners purchased for $3 million earlier this year; and
50 Orange Street, which sold for $7.1 million in January.

(Photo: Brownstoner)

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  • lori

    If they leave it 13 rental units (there are two to a floor except for one floor-through), there is not much to do, since the witnesses maintained it in excellent condition and had renovated it in the 90s. However, they will probably re-do the kitchens and baths ås is being done at 161 Columbia Hts.

  • Donald Brennan

    Actually the property is configured with three units per floor with a C of O for 13 units total, or 2 per floor. So some reconfiguration works needs to be done and to get it to “luxury” from “dormitory” updates to kitchens and baths are in order.
    The purchase price is unusually low for a JW property, especially one in such a prime location. Upper two floors have clear views of lower manhattan and the harbor. Very interested to learn how/why buyer walked away with a bargain.

  • Bette

    Donald, I was thinking the same thing! That is incredibly cheap (I feel ridiculous saying that) for an entire building in good shape in a great location. One luxury unit in Manhattan, and some in Brooklyn could easily go for $3 million. A smart and/or lucky buyer.

  • Royce

    It’s funny how people always make accusations about JW’s making money. When if they did their research in history they would find some religions have been doing that for 100’s if not 1000’s of years.
    Read some history on the Roman Empire and the dark ages. It’s amazing what religion has done in the name of God.

  • WilliamR

    When it comes to real estate, the Witnesses are smart investors, and obviously have God’s backing. They maintain their property meticulously. Why shouldn’t they reap the benefits? I, personally, applaud them. If ALL Heights property owners took as good care of their property as the Witnesses the Heights would be a better place and ALL properties would be worth even more. In addition, they are truly nice people. I wish all of my neighbors were as pleasant and honest as they are. I hate to see them leave the Heights!

  • JWDefender

    Let’s be honest here.
    watchtower inherited this property from an original trust from ct russell.
    He had no idea that it would be worth so much.
    I’ve been a witness for years and frankly didn’t expect any of us to still be here.
    God must have a greater further purpose for us.
    As stewards we must use his blessings wisely.

  • Albert Evan

    The sad thing about this is that these buildings being sold off were largely renovated by “volunteer labor”

    The Watchtower pays these so called volunteers a stipend of $100 a month or so to work full time for them at their world headquarters and other branch offices around the world. These volunteers think their payoff will be everlasting life in a paradise earth, earned by their good works toward the Watchtower Society.

    In the end, they sell off these pristine properties and pocket the cash, with zero accountability as to how the funds are used. They certainly aren’t used for hospitals, colleges, food banks or women’s shelters – the Watchtower doesn’t believe in following Jesus’ advice to help the poor.

    Forget Wall Street, the real money is in religion!

  • Cranberry Beret

    Meanwhile, back to the real estate.
    Surprised no one mentioned that one of their converted houses – 105 Willow Street – sold for $3.33 million. Not bad off the ask of $3.6.

  • Albert Evan


    Your endless, non-sensical rant devoid of punctuation reveals exactly the kind of education received in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • Royce

    The scriptures reveal that Jesus early disciples were “unlettered and ordinary”. In fact, the Son of God was questioned demeaningly because he did not attend the “rabbinic” schools of the day!

    Furthermore, I believe, Jesus would rather entertain friendship with an illiterate, humble or uneducated person in want of teaching. Than a judgmental, condescending and arrogant type of person with an ax to grind.

  • Ladyof3

    Wow! How quickly people speak of a religion they are not apart of and I’m sure are quick to close the door on when they are at your door step. Let’s clear up one thing about the selling of this real estate and the scale down of the Watchtower and Awake magazines. The Witnesses no longer have a need for this property as they have begun to send those who were occupying the buildings out into missionary work as well as to serve in areas where the need is great. The scaling down of the magazines make perfect sense as to conserve natural resources and be more cost effective. Many of the largest distributors of magazines have instituted these changes as well. It is also necessary to scale down when making electronic media more readily available as our society as a whole has shifted to reading online magazines, e-readers, smart phones, etc. Witnesses are not paid for any of the work they do and they pocket no funds for any property that is being sold. The Witnesses have a monthly accounting of every expense down to the penny and this is read at weekly meetings for local congregations and a full report from the Watchtower Society is given annually at one of many District Conventions. Most hold secular jobs to pay for everyday living expenses and all are diligent tax payers. Perhaps, if you are so concerned with what they are doing with the money they receive you should either attend one of their meetings or pick up one of their yearbooks. Either way, it is of no cost to you. In other words speak about what you know to be fact and I’ll speak about what I know to be fact.

  • Momof3Mex

    Robert Giles would like to quote from the scriptures in stating that we are not aware of the promised “presence” of the Messiah….and are you? At least we are AWARE that it is now, as you follow the words of Peter in his second letter at chapter 3:3,4. It is for those that are not showing a waiting attitude and not willing to “really” look into the bible. For many who THINK they love God and Jesus Christ, but aren’t willing to learn HOW Jehovah God wants us to worship him….it is all laid out in the scriptures. I was raised as a Catholic, and never opened up a bible each week as I was attending mass. I am NOT saying that there are not those in different religions who aren’t sincere. BUT, as a sincere lover of our Creator, I was willing to take a second look, to make sure that the way I was worshipping him is EXACTLY the way he would want me to. Does our loving Havenly Father not deserve such an evaluation??? I am happy to say that my parents were able to do such, and now are proudly serving by my side as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses….waiting for that wonderful paradise.