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Witnesses’ DUMBO tower hearing on Wednesday

The Brooklyn Paper
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Community Board 2 is hosting the first public hearing on the plan by the Watchtower Society, the corporate entity of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious order, to build four soaring apartment buildings on an immense plot of land at the edge of DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.

The hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, June 30, at 6 pm, at Congregation Mount Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza West.

With its world headquarters just blocks away, the new development would house 2,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Currently zoned for manufacturing, the Watchtower Society originally planned a printing facility for the site and even began demolition that has left a gaping hole there for the past 12 years.

But last year the organization shifted its printing facilities 90 miles outside the city to upstate Wallkill and is now seeking a variance to use the site for residential development.

The plans include 1,000 units of housing divided between four buildings of 20, 18, 16 and 14 stories. The tallest building would reach 220 feet.

The facility would also include a three-story assembly hall with a seating capacity of 2,500, a 1,600-person dining facility and an 1,100-space underground garage.

The site has raised concerns among its DUMBO neighbors who claim the project is out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood and would create a “dead zone” because it does not include any retail space at the street level.

The CB2 hearing is the first stop along the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The application will later be reviewed by Borough President Marty Markowitz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.


Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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