Buyer Seeks To Convert Apartment Building At 50 Orange To “Megamansion”

Curbed, picking up from the Wall Street Journal, reports that Benchmark Real Estate Group, which purchased the 22 unit former Jehovah’s Witness apartment building at 50 Orange Street (photo; southeast corner of Orange and Hicks), has plans to gut it and convert it into a single family residence; in Curbed’s words, a “ridiculous megamansion”. Benchmark hired the firm Renovated Home to draw up specs for such a grand residence. They include “four bedrooms, a gym, a wine cellar and a roof terrace.” A prospective buyer may use the Renovated Home design, but, for the $22 million asking price, is likely to have other designs in mind.

BHB reader Andrew Porter’s comment on the Curbed story:

Hate to tell you, but when the JWs renovated this place several years before they sold it, they tried and tried to fix the brickwork, but apparently couldn’t. So got permission from Landmarks to simply paint the exterior, covering up rotten brickwork.

Photo by moi for BHB.

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  • Bornhere

    Yowza. Those will be really … spacious bedrooms, I guess. (But isn’t this the southeast corner?)

  • Jorale-man

  • William Gilbert

    Do believe everything you read in the papers. This simply isn’t true.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    The question you all SHOULD be asking is WHY the JW’s are moving out of NYC?
    And why they the rate of move-out is apparently accelerating?

  • O’brian

    The Jo-ho’s decided to leave a long time ago, the reason is NYC is too much of a “worldly” distraction to their visiting subjects. To that end, they bought a large amount of land, upstate NY and have been developing it to their needs. Now that the buildings in their new location are being completed, the Brooklyn buildings are no longer needed and can be sold.
    The important thing is they’re outta here:)

  • CassieVonMontague

    Stories like this are why I’m ambivalent about the Cobble Hill Towers and the Pier 6 Towers. I see multi-unit homes being converted back to single family throughout the hood. There’s an 11-unit building on Willow St being converted to single family right now. Someday I might need a new place to live. I can’t afford a single family home or the other new buildings like the $2 million two-bedroom unit in the buidling being built on Atlantic and Henry.

  • Claude Scales

    You’re right; I’ve made the correction. Thanks.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    I don’t know, what you say has good plausibility, but there has been a seeming acceleration in events and I DO know that the JW’s we know in the Heights, including one person who states upon asking that he in on their board of governors says he feels growing danger and several people who I know are JW members describe the city as less safe or now unsafe. Yes, they are very guarded_ but if you know them for like 10 years or longer you get more candid opinions. The JW’s are not exactly a
    Disaster group but they are certainly a millennial group. And as such, believe in a restoration of original Christian faith so a future period of serious trial is part of their belief system as far as I can learn.

  • Reggie

    Your concern is that someday someone will convert the proposed 339-unit building at Pier 6 into a one-family?

  • R.O.Shipman

    You’re probably just being intentionally dense, but I’ll explain her thoughts anyway. A certain amount of housing stock exists in the neighborhood (or brooklyn, or nyc, or your geographic designation of choice). Some of this housing stock are currently multi-unit buildings that are being re-combined into single family units. Just as in many apartment buildings, apartments get combined to form larger apartments. There are almost no existing units being split into more units. Thus, without the addition of more unit containing buildings in the neighborhood, the housing stock in the neighborhood would be decreasing. Which would in turn significantly raise prices on units in the neighborhood.

    She’s ambivalent about the new buildings because while it may reduce cost pressure on existing units in the neighborhood, it’s not like those new units are in and of themselves affordable.

  • Reggie

    I know, I know, the Wall Street Journal will print anything! They make Gothamist look good!

  • CookieGuggleman

    3 Pierrepont Place is still on the market

  • Still Here

    It is interesting that they started on this path in 2002 not long after after winning their long and arduous rezoning application for the Jay st lot for the new 20+ story, two square block, Kingdom of God world headquarters. It was rumored) that after 9/11 they reconsidered — city no longer safe. And, they had the time and resources to build and sell on their terms and schedule. They bought low upstate and sold high in Brooklyn. ….

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Silver lining? One family home means less strain on local amenities (namely schools), plus whatever the taxes on that property might do for Brooklyn (if they’re, you know, not embezzled or flushed down the toilet somehow).

  • StudioBrooklyn

    How do you get italics?!

  • William Gilbert

    If they managed to stay here in the horrible days of the 70s and 80s, I don’t think it was danger in the city that is making them move. Rather, it seems like a good time to sell some very valuable real estate and get top dollar.

  • CassieVonMontague

    My concern is that I will have no place to live in this community if every brownstone is bought out to become a mega-mansion, so i will need to live in a 339-unit building.