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85-Jay-1 Site of 85 Jay Street/ 160 Front Street in red; Image courtesy of Jehovah's Witnesses
A month after closing on a $345 million deal for a three-acre parking lot in DUMBO/ Vinegar Hill, the joint partnership between Kushner, LIVWRK and CIM Group have ceased parking operations and moved construction equipment onsite. Details of what’s forthcoming remain scarce and no construction permits have yet to be filed at the property commonly addressed as 85 Jay Street. The valuable site bound by Jay, Bridge, Front and York streets was purchased from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York (better known as the Jehovah's Witnesses). The site was previously used by its church members who, over the past several years, steadily reduced its Brooklyn presence in preparation to move their entire operation upstate.
Sources rumor that the site will likely hold a 1.1 million-square-foot residential and retail complex that will complement the developer’s commercial endeavors nearby. Asher Abehsera, Founder and CEO of LIVWRK said in a recent press release that “85 Jay Street has long been the hole in the Dumbo doughnut and we aim to introduce a world-class project to the vibrant waterfront district.” Directly north of the site a 105-unit rental at 181 Front Street is under construction, and one block west, the Jehovah's Witnesses recently sold a site at 69 Adams Street to the Rabsky Group.
CityRealty A drilling rig has appeared on 85 Jay's now-vacant site; CItyRealty
85-jay-2 Previous plans drafted by Beyer Blinder Belle for the Jehovah Witnesses
In 2004, the Witness’ secured a city rezoning of the 135,000-square-foot property that would allow for residential uses. The organization planned to build four 9- to 20-story dormitory buildings designed by Beyer Blinder Belle. According to the Brooklyn Paper, the complex would have had 1,000 one-bedroom apartments, a three-story assembly hall, a 1,600-person dining facility and a 1,100-car parking garage. There would be no commercial retail however. While it was hoped that the plan would begin construction by 2006, the organization never moved forward with plans.
Last year, Kushner with CIM and LIVWRK bought the organization’s Columbia Heights headquarters for $340 million, and in 2013, Kushner with LIVWRK and RFR shelled out $373 million for the Witness’ printing buildings located upland across the BQE. Those buildings are now part of the commercial hub known as Dumbo Heights, and signed tenants include Etsy and WeWork.
Last month, Jared Kushner stepped down from his role as CEO of Kushner Companies as he transitions into role as Senior White House Advisor in his father-in-law’s presidential administration.
Conceptual massing based on approved zoning; CityRealty
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