Kushner Companies


25-30 Columbia Heights

Development Team Acquires 11-Story Watchtower Complex at 25-30 Columbia in Brooklyn Heights, Plans Creative Office Conversion

Over the spring, a team of developers entered into contract to acquire, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the 11-story, 739,000-square-foot commercial complex known as the Watchtower, at 25-30 Columbia Heights, in Brooklyn Heights. The team – now a joint venture between the Kushner Companies, CIM Group, and LIVWRK – have closed on the purchase for roughly $340 million, Commercial Observer reported. The new owners plan to convert the complex into creative office space, likely similar to how some of the same developers transformed the five-building complex now dubbed DUMBO Heights. The redevelopment is expected to begin within a year. In addition to the acquisition of 25-30 Columbia Heights, the same partnership is remains in contract to buy the vacant, block-encompassing development site at 85 Jay Street, in DUMBO.


DUMBO Heights

Two-Block-Long Public Plaza Coming To DUMBO Heights’s Sand Street Corridor

Back in 2013, Kushner Companies, RFR Realty, and LIVWRK acquired, for $375 million from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the five-building, 1.25-million square-foot commercial complex at 55 and 81 Prospect Street, 117 Adams Street, 77 Sands Street, and 175 Pearl Street. The developers have since converted the collection of mid-rise buildings into offices and retail space, dubbed DUMBO Heights. The developers are now constructing a two-block-long public plaza along Sands Street between Adams and Jay streets, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plaza will extend the 15-foot-wide sidewalk by 15 feet. It will include public artwork, seating, and planters. La Fantástica is behind the design, and the Dumbo Improvement District is associated with the project. Current office tenants in the complex including WeWork Cos., Etsy Inc., Frog Design, Alexis Bittar Inc., and retail tenants include Randolph Beer, fitness center Shadowbox, Row House, Bluestone Lane Coffee, and Dig Inn. Roughly 350,000 square feet of commercial space remains vacant, according to Real Estate Weekly.


Gulliver's Gate

Plans for ‘Gulliver’s Gate’ Tourist Attraction Move Forward at 216 West 44th Street, Times Square

Late last year, news broke that E&M Associates and Eiran Gazit were planning to build a 49,000-square-foot Times Square tourist attraction in part of the 12-story former New York Times Building, an individual landmark at 229 West 43rd Street and 216 West 44th Street (the north building is not landmarked), in Midtown. Now, the team has filed plans with the Department of Buildings for the project, dubbed Gulliver’s Gate, The Real Deal reports. The ground floor portion will include the reception and ticketing areas, as well as a gift shop, while the second will host the main exhibit. The project is expected to begin the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) shortly. It also requites exterior alterations to the 43rd Street side, which will need to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Last November, the team signed a 15-year lease for part of the ground floor and the entire second floor of the building. Kushner Companies acquired the retail portion of the property, which also contains office space, in early 2015 for $296 million. If all goes as planned, completion can be expected in 2017. Stanley Wong’s SP WONG Architect is the architect of record.


25-30 Columbia Heights

Development Team to Buy Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 11-Story Headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights, Vacant Site at 85 Jay Street

RFR Holding, LIVWRK, and Kushner Companies are preparing to enter into contract to purchase the 11-story, 733,000-square-foot office complex at 25-30 Columbia Heights, in Brooklyn Heights, in addition to the vacant full-block, 135,000-square-foot development site at 85 Jay Street, in DUMBO, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The team of developers are paying $700 million for the properties, according to the New York Post. 25-30 Columbia Heights, which is commonly called the “Watchtower,” is the organization’s current headquarters. It could possibly be turned into a commercial hub, similar to how the same developers converted the former Jehovah’s Witnesses properties at 81 Prospect Street into offices back in 2014. As for 85 Jay Street, the site has been long approved for roughly 1.1 million square feet of development. That’s as many as 700 to 1,000 residential units, which could boost the neighborhood’s population by a third, Brownstoner reported a few months ago.


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