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Bossert on the block: Jehovah’s Witnesses to sell Heights jewel

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Hotel Bossert, the swanky Brooklyn Heights building that was the site of the Dodgers’ knock-down, drag-out World Series victory party in 1955 and, more recently, has served as a dormitory for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is on the block.

The “For sale” sign is the latest one to be slapped on Witnesses buildings in Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, where the century-old faith is based.

Last year, the sect put up for sale six of its 18 Brooklyn Heights properties, including the Standish Arms Hotel on Columbia Heights, which sold for $50 million in December.

The Bossert could go for twice as much, said Arlene Awaye, whose Awaye Realty helped broker the Standish Arms deal.

“The Bossert is double the size and it’s a beautiful property, so it could easily go for twice the money as the Standish,” Awaye said.

The ongoing selloff by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society — the business arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — comes as the Witnesses have moved most of their publishing and printing operations upstate.

Real-estate developers are salivating over the properties that have come on the market, but locals say they will miss the Witnesses.

“At the Bossert, and at all of their buildings, the Witnesses have set a very high standard in terms of taking good care of their properties,” said Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton. “Brooklyn Heights has benefited from the care and attention that they have put in to their buildings and I hope that the new owners will keep up that tradition.”

There certainly is plenty of tradition to keep up. The Bossert, a 14-story Italian Renaissance Revival building at 98 Montague St., was constructed by Brooklyn lumber tycoon Louis Bossert in 1909.

After the Witnesses bought it in 1988, it underwent a complete rehab that included restoration of the crystal chandelier and stone columns in the hotel’s lobby and the renovation of the famous Marine Roof restaurant on the building’s top floor.

“When we bought the building, the Marine Roof was in complete ruin,” said Richard Devine, the Watchtower Society’s building manager. “But we rebuilt the space as a banquet hall for our events and, of course, that will be available to the new owners. It’s a gorgeous space with stunning views of Manhattan.”

Updated 4:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Brooklyn from Dodger Fan says:

WOW! Finally the wealthy Watchtower corporation which has hogged up all that tax free Brooklyn property worth hundreds of millions is liquidating & 'cashing in on the kingdom'.

These cult leaders promised eternal life to a million followers in order to solicit their $$ donations.
(End of the world in 1975)
Now they're bugging out/cashing in and moving upstate to their new Watchtower "neverland ranch" complex.

Amazing how much these tax exempt religious rackets are alike, the Scientologist own Clearwater Florida like the Watchtower owned Brooklyn.
Jan. 31, 2008, 9:47 pm
TRAVIS says:
offending my religion.
Jan. 31, 2008, 11:44 pm
Joseph from Dumbo says:
To:Travis,I find your Watchtower sect door to door trespassing offensive.
Feb. 1, 2008, 4:56 am
Werner Cohn from Cobble Hill says:
I hope that the new owners will reopen the Marine Roof restaurant at the Bossert. It would be fun to once again eat high in the sky, contemplating Manhattan and beyond. Make the food and drink delicious, and please don't spoil it with exorbitant prices.
Feb. 1, 2008, 6:02 pm
Dan says:
Maybe Watchtower Society sees what's coming and are moving out of big cities to somewheres cheaper. Anyone involved in gold community will tell you that bad times are just around the corner - this being off topic. I give thumps up to the Watchtower for selling now, they should have sold couple years ago when market was still booming but the sub-prime fiasco hasn't affected everything yet so I hope they sell all their Brooklyn buildings and move upstate. End or no end bad times are just ahead and anyone smart will be getting ready.
Feb. 2, 2008, 11:24 pm
LG says:
These facilities were used for Bible educational purposes not for entertaining politicians and local celebrities. Let us not forget that a collection plate has never been passed, nor a TV plea or a bingo game held. They made some good investments for their Lord. Every nickel will be spent for educating people who want to know more about God's word and helping with disaster when they occur.
Feb. 4, 2008, 11:39 am
Para says:
Brooklyn from Dodger Fan: Actually, the Watchtower Society has opted to pay property taxes on their property. Though they weren't required to do this, they did this to be fair to their neighbors.
Feb. 4, 2008, 3 pm
James from Manhattan says:
Para what you post about the Watchtower paying taxes is bogus Watchtower cult propaganda.

BTW the Watchtower has NO public charities like the other churches do,(show me where)

Glad they are outta here
Feb. 5, 2008, 12:11 pm
Dawn says:
James, why don't you go to New Orleans and the surrounding areas and ask them if the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society does charity work. As many volunteers from around the world of like faith went to help their fellow brothers and sisters they also helped neighbors who were not of like faith. Unless you know for sure about them paying or not paying you really should not comment on it.

I hope they get a fabulous price for property. It is impecible and they did much for the neighborhood. You ask any of their neighbors, and see if they are sad to see them go. Where else in New York are things kept as neat, clean and crime free. No where.
Feb. 5, 2008, 12:34 pm
Joseph from New Orleans says:
The Watchtower propaganda on purported Hurricane Katrina rebuilds is an urban legend in the Kingdom Hall tall tale telling.

FACT: a handful of homes were done for JW members only,by free JW volunteer labor and the Watchtower 'accepted' the insurance money as 'donation$.
Feb. 6, 2008, 8:28 am
SC from BAH REGION says:
THOSE WHO DON'T WANT THEM THERE, IT'S BECAUSE OF YOUR OWN PREJUDICE AGAINST THEM, WHETHER YOU LIKE THEM OR NOT, THEY HAVE DONE NO HARM, NOTHING BUT GOOD TO THE COMUNITY. IF THE WORST YOU CAN SAY ABOUT THEM IS THAT THEY ANNOY YOU TALKING ABOUT THEIR RELIGION, YEA FOR THEM! AT LEAST THEY HAVE NOT ADDED TO THE PROBLEMS NEW YORKERS FACE TODAY. YOU WANT NEW NEIGHBORS YOU GOT EM, SEE IF YOU LIKE LITTER, BUMS, MUGGINGS AND CAR BREAK INS BETTER THAN BEING OFFERED A WATCHTOWER WHICH YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO REFUSE! REMEMBER 911, THEY DO! LEAVING IS PROBABLY NO HALF BRAINED KNEE JERK ACTION. THEY MIGHT JUST BE SMART ENOUGH TO GET OUT OF THE WAY OF ANY MORE DISASTERS AND NOT SO GREEDY THEY WANT TO HOLD ON TO MATERIAL THINGS AT ALL COST LIKE MOST RELIGION WOULD I'M SURE, IF THEY HAD IT. INSTED OF RIDICULING THEM, YOU OUGHT TO WATCH THEM, THEY HAD THE FORESIGHT TO BUY THE RUN DOWN PLACE TO START WITH, AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING A LOT OF PEOPLE OBVIOUSLY ENVY.
Feb. 6, 2008, 12:55 pm
NY native says:
SC above is a better educated Jehovah's Witness
Feb. 6, 2008, 1:03 pm
joe from mich says:
Where Jehovahs spirit directs them they go. once in the door to door ministry a mother had objected to the visit of a witness saying that her son was killed in the war. She knew that jehovahs people do not go to war to kill anybody. So the witness kindly told her he was sorry to hear that but one thing was for certain, that no Jehovahs witness killed her son. Think of how the world would be if relgion taught that it is a sin to kill people and that we need to love our neighbors.The goverment to end all hatred is Jehovahs kingdom.They are good people telling bible truths and that is what is offensive to people
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:36 am
Been there from Brooklyn says:
Jehovah's Witnesses trespassers are wolves in sheep's clothing abomination to society.
Feb. 16, 2008, 7:15 am
MK from Charlotte, NC says:
Personally, I am proud to see that the Watchtower society uses our contributions in a way to invest the money and make more with it. Let us not forget the parable Jesus spoke of the 3 slaves that were given 5 talents, 2 talents and 1 talent. Jesus commended the ones that did something with the money to benefit their master. Not only are our personal contributions used wisely, with scrutiny and to further world wide education work, you WILL NEVER see any of the brothers in leading or overseer positions driving fancy cars or million dollar homes from society funds... they live and work, including in the ministry, along side all of us.
Feb. 29, 2008, 5:04 pm
Julie from Iowa says:
For those of you who have nothing nice to say about Jehovah witnesses are the ones that make up all the hatred in the world. Jehovahs people preach about a world soon to come with out hatred war and crime, small minded people talk out of ignorance with out looking into things deeper.( the Bible ) What we want for mankind is that they can get to know Jehovah God. and live with out the problems we face today. What is so bad about that? I know that the money made from this sale will further the preaching work.
May 4, 2008, 8:24 pm
SP from New Jersey says:
Just want to comment on one thing that is not correct in regards to your article. You mentioned that Jehovah's Witnesses are a sect.

"Last year, the sect put up for sale six of its 18 Brooklyn Heights properties, including the Standish Arms Hotel on Columbia Heights, which sold for $50 million in December."

Just want to let you know that JW's is not a sect. It is a registered organization. Please get your facts straight.
May 7, 2008, 4:54 pm
Graham,N from Richmond,CA says:
Jehovah's Witnesses are a God-directed Organization.
Any community,neighborhood, state benefits from the presence of the Witnesses.
Property values goes up not down!!
Either you will love them or hate them but they are very good neighbors and will assist anyone in times of natural disaters.
Many people have benefited by having their homes re-build free of charge in Florida, New Orleans, Texas just to mention a few places. Even Internationally non-Witnesses are graceful for the Witnesses.
You will know they are true followers of Christ by the love they show for fellow worshippers and their neighbors John 13:35
May 9, 2008, 4:55 pm
Scott from LA, CA says:
I've personally, in my short life, been involved in the re-building in Athens, GA, Houston, TX and N.O. floods. The good done extends past our own to the neighbors in need.
Even if they "bother" you, you have to admit they do no harm by doing so. They are polite, don't dodge taxes and keep their properties clean and neat for the most part.
They do not smoke, curse and make trustworthy employees.
I have visited most of these buildings and they are emaculate in every way. It's a shame to see them "go", but they will use the proceeds in a wise way to teach others more of the Bible.
My 2 cents to think about.
May 19, 2008, 10:01 am
REBA from charlotte says:
I HAVE KNOWN JEHOVAHS WITNESSES FOR MANY YEARS. SO MANY LIES ARE TOLD ABOUT THEM AND WHAT THEY DO. YOU SEE, SO MANY CLAIM TO LOVE CHRIST. OH YEAH, AND YET WHEN SOME ONE COMES TO YOUR DOOR AND WANTS TO TEACH YOU ABOUT CHRIST, YOU REJECT THAT. I KNOW FOR A FACT THEY DO LIKE THE BIBLE SAYS.... PREACH GODS KINGDOM.. THEY USE THEIR OWN MONEY TO PAY FOR THEIR GAS ..AT 4.00 A GAL.. THEY GIVE YOU THE LITERATURE FREE.WHAT OTHER RELIGION DOES THAT. MOST RELIGIONS ASK FOR MONEY EVERY TIME YOU GO TO CHURCH. JEHOVAHS WITNESSES DONT EVER TAKE COLLECTIONS. MAYBE IT IS THAT YOU ARE JEALOUS AND ARE TO LAZY TO LEARN THE BIBLE.... ANY ONE WITH ANY BRAINS CAN SEE WE ARE IN CRITICAL TIMES.... IF YOU CANT SEE THAT , YOUR NOT SMART ENOUGH TO READ THIS LETTER....REBA THESE CRITICAL TIMES APPYS TO ALL RELIGIONS OR HAVENT YOU NOTICED.....
May 21, 2008, 6:25 pm
who cares? from en la ciudad de la furia says:
it's not a freaking sect....
Feb. 17, 2009, 3:55 pm
abeng from lagos says:
ilove being one of Jehovah's witnesses for ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:15 pm
ABENG from LAGOS says:
I am not partisant about this, nevertheless some may say so : the intensity at which love for one another is propagated within Jehovah's witnesses-which they extend to non-Jehovah's witnesses as they see them as potential Jehovah's witnesses some day-is something i have not been able to recount anywhere else in my careful and thorough search for twenty-six years now !!!! Let the wise ones on earth today trace this identity mark to those who truly are Christ's (Jehovah's Son's) followers
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:57 pm
Lou says:
Why is it that the Jehovah's Witnesses who posted here cannot spell correctly,nor seem to know or use any grammar or punctuation rules??

How old are you Jehovah's Witnesses who have posted here?

Your ages may explain the lack of basic education in spelling and puncuation.
Oct. 28, 2009, 6:49 pm
rolygonz from some place nice says:
well all I know is that you teach religion that is the plage of the world and yes you are a cult that do what a bunch of rich people wich made their money out of your ignorant pockets in the first place order you to do and that is to get more people so they can make more money, open your mind is all a lie. it is up to you being a slave all your life for the promese of eternal life that will never be a reality. live this one the only one that you'll ever have and forget about it, in this world will always be people willing to lie to you for money and make an easy living out of your ignorance go expend that energy and get an education and make this life good for you and your family.
devote all your faith to do good and help others and do not expect anything in return so if someday somebudy help you it will be a very nice experience. once money is in it then your faith have a price.

Jan. 8, 2010, 11:18 am
Eddie says:
I guess we all choose different paths in life, we all have the choice to do so. I made the choice of being a witness after much studying, and that was my choice! The witnesses own the hotel, and they are selling it, well that is great! Their choice...
Prejudice and hate is all I read in some of the comments here, nothing up-building or even unbiased... It must be heavy to carry all those negative feelings.
Interesting that the Article mentions, after calling Witnesses a sect, that "Real-estate developers are salivating over the properties that have come on the market, but locals say they will miss the Witnesses."
I wonder why developers are interested on the properties? Why would the locals say they will miss the witnesses?
I feel that it may be because we strive to keep things clean and in good condition, and we try to be kind and positive towards all people, even when they are less than polite at times.
June 24, 2010, 11:13 am
Hello from Kansas City says:
Apostates have a lot to say...Just nothing positive...
Dec. 16, 2010, 1:24 am
Local from Heights says:
The Witnesses invested in the Heights when other people were fleeing to the suburbs. Their people acted like good citizens. They invested in their buildings. They kept their properties clean. I don't share their religious beliefs but I appreciate their many, many, many contributions to the neighborhood. They are leaving it in far better shape than when they came in. We should all be able to say that.
Sept. 18, 2011, 4:47 pm
Samantha Muentes from Manhattan says:
Unfortunately, people think Jehovah witnesses are Bull ——ters and liars but really is what makes Brooklyn Heights different. They are very different from other religions, they do what they promise and they keep the neighborhood clean and safe. I wish them the best of success and to make a better place for themselves iin worwick NJ.
Oct. 12, 2011, 10:09 am
BobbyNZ from Wellington NZ says:
As a member for almost 4 decades with an Economics degree, I can attest that this GREED FREE organisation, where even their most "powerful" members, the Governing Body, are given a small allowance a month, is truly Christlike where love instead of money runs the daily affairs of the organisation. Therefore, the purported wealth belongs to God where no single member has any "shareholdings" !!! This is the only yes the only true organisation for sure!!!
Oct. 29, 2011, 1:07 pm
gilbert from manhattan says:
im just a12 year old kid and i now that were clean people of the organisation
Jan. 22, 2012, 5:23 pm
Duane from Chicago,Il says:
I'm crying right now, for nostalgic reasons, over the move of the Witnesses from Brooklyn to upstate New York. They truly will be missed!
Sept. 22, 2012, 9:29 pm
hey ernie from brooklyn says:
your an idiot the watchtower are good neighbors and have helped keep our area crime low and clean they actually do pay taxes cehck your fact moron
May 31, 2013, 7:29 am
Robert Benson Morales from N/A says:
Jehovah God is good!
Oct. 10, 2013, 11:06 am
shary klein from new york says:
im 16 years old and everybody has either a religion or belief in something. That being said offending other people's religion is not really getting you any where. so what everybody has different beliefs SO WHAT. and if you feel as though they are trying to convert you and change your belief just say no thankyou. Simple as that. Im sure most of you may be older than me (no offense) but let me just say YOU ALL sound like whining babies get over it get over your damn selves. you got a belief COOL!! GOOD FOR YOU. Its called respect something that everybody is lacking to remember.

I have many Jehovah's witness friends and they are actually pretty cool and nice. *GASP* unless im being brainwashed.???... SEE another childish though. GROW UP
Feb. 7, 2014, 12:18 am

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