Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Brooklyn properties see price surge

New York Post/March 9, 2016

By Lois Weiss

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have had such a tremendous response to their Brooklyn land and office offerings that they have now hired Bob Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield to vet the wheat from the chaff.

Additionally, with “dozens” of offers received from both locals and global players, sources say the bidders are also now expecting a winnowing second round.

The Witnesses are selling both a rare 135,000-square-foot tract of vacant land at 85 Jay St. for a mixed-use project as well as the four-building office complex of 733,000 square feet at 25-30 Columbia Heights.

Because of the interest and coming second round, pricing is now expected to be well over the $300 million mark, more akin to last year’s expected pricing.

Real estate billionaire and presidential candidate Donald Trump is racking up the miles and the autographs as he travels to two or three rallies every day, and works a long rope line to sign hundreds of posters, caps and photographs for supporters.

In Concord, N.C., on Monday, a noon rally at the local county center brought out well over 5,000 people who got there early for seats or good spots. Enthusiasm was high for the mogul, even though he was interrupted almost a dozen times by young protestors.

“Aren’t Trump rallies fun?” Trump said, annoyed but entertained by the interruptions during his 40-minute speech. As a protestor tripped on the stairs while being escorted out, he pointed out, “She’ll blame Trump, and she will sue the building on the basis of the floors being slippery.”

As a buyer of building technology and construction equipment, Trump also condemned Carrier’s recent decision to move jobs to Mexico.

Time has come to Nyack.

Yes, the bucolic but edgy Rockland County town, known for its nightlife and quirky shops, is getting a hotel that will upgrade a visit to the Hudson Valley into an overnighter.

Developers Kerry Wellington and Michael Yanko were longtime Nyack residents and had already created the POD 39 and Ink 48 in Manhattan when they saw the need for a boutique hotel in their own town.

Although the former factory building and later music club is located right off the noisy Thruway just northwest of the Tappan Zee Bridge, a careful design by architect Glen Coben’s Glen & Co.
has ensured the 133 rooms and suites at The Time Nyack are not only industrial modern, but also edgy and pin-drop quiet.

Everything has been custom-designed by Coben’s team, including the Rorschach-like hallway wallpaper.

On my recent visit, workers were completing punch lists geared toward a mid-April opening.

On the western end, a Bobby Van’s BV Grill seating 170 will open adjacent to an outdoor pool.

The eastern side can host meetings and banquets with pre-function and party rooms of up to 4,000 square feet that seat up to 215 people.

“We are seeing amazing bookings of weddings and corporate events coming from the city,” Wellington said.

With lots of interest, room rates are starting around $219, Yanko says.

The event venue hosting company Convene has leased 36,000 square feet of space at 114 W. 47th St. — where its new flagship space will have its own lobby and address of 117 W. 46th St.

The ground, second and lower level floors will be able to hold 500 people for various kinds of events. The installation will include stage lighting, high-speed WiFi, audio and video technology and digital signage.

Convene was represented by Jared Freede, Rocco Laginestra, and Michael Wellen of CBRE. Durst was represented in-house by Tom Bow and Rocco Romeo. Building asking rents were $200 per square foot for the ground and $68 per square foot for office.

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