Monday, October 17, 2011

Behold: The day of the biggest real estate sale to hit Brooklyn in decades is nearing and a swelling crowd of potential beneficiaries is salivating. At stake are 34 mint-condition properties in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo that the Jehovah's Witnesses spent decades accumulating and now are considering selling as they ponder a headquarters move upstate. All told, the portfolio spans 3.2 million square feet—more than the entire Empire State Building—and is worth well over $1 billion.
“There is great potential here to transform the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president.
Even with the sale likely a few years away, he and others are dreaming big about what could be. For the city, the sales could return the holdings of the largest landlord in Brooklyn Heights and vicinity—the nonprofit Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the Witnesses' business arm—to the city's tax rolls. The move could net City Hall millions of dollars a year in revenue.

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