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Deals & Dealmakers

Jehovah’s Witnesses bag $80M in sale of latest Brooklyn property

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are set to add just under $80 million to their billion-dollar haul from the sale of their Brooklyn portfolio.

Los Angeles-based Hawkins Way Capital has purchased 117-125 Columbia Heights and 97 Columbia Heights from the organization in a deal brokered by Leslie J. Garfield townhouse experts Matthew Lesser and Ravi Kantha.

1117-125 Columbia Heights closed on August 11 for $18 million. 97 Columbia Heights will close later this month for what sources say is just under $60 million. 97 Columbia Heights sits on the site of the former Hotel Margaret, which was destroyed by a fire in 1980. In 1986, while it was still under construction, the Witnesses purchased the building and reconfigured it to accommodate members of their former headquarters staff.

The 12-story building is 88,610 s/f and currently contains 97 residential units, as well as 30 parking spaces. It has views of New York Harbor, the Manhattan skyline, and Brooklyn. 117-125 Columbia Heights is made up of three townhouses in the Brutalist architecture style. The five- story building is approximately 53,629 s/f and served the Witnesses for years as a combination of residential, office, and amenity space.

Hawkins Way Capital is a real estate investment firm whose recent real estate purchases include 334 East 79th Street in Manhattan and The Milner Hotel in Boston, MA. Lesser said, “Hawkins Way Capital’s flexibility, creative underwriting, and strong backing made them the perfect fit for these unique trophy assets, which were meticulously maintained over the years by Watchtower.” Hawkins Way Capital’s legal representation was Craig L. Price, Kara Rakowski, Lawrence Shepps of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman. The sale brings the Jehovah Witnesses Brooklyn portfolio purse to over $1.25 billion.

Jared Kushner partnered with CIM Group and LIVWRK to buy 25-30 Columbia Heights for $340 million and is in the throes of converting the former Watchtower complex to a new mixed-use complex called Panorama. The partnership also bought 85 Jay Street for $345 million. Clipper Equities paid $87 million for 107 Columbia Heights and is turning it into condos.

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