The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, are moving out of Brooklyn after over 100 years, planning to establish a mega complex in upstate New York. They’ve started to put their multi-million dollar properties on the market last week.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are relocating to Warwick, N.Y., where they plan to build a 250-acre complex, the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, on a newly acquired estate. The new headquarters will accommodate some 8,000 staff members, who will all live and work under the same roof.
Even though the Society has yet to secure building permits at the new location, it has already been selling its Brooklyn properties. Five buildings, worth a total of $18.8 million, were put on sale over the weekend, following three other properties and leaving some 27 more to go.
The properties on sale include two town houses, two brownstones and a carriage house. Some of the buildings date back to mid-1800s and early 1900s, according to the New York Times. The antique carriage house has two apartments, a four-car garage, and a price tag of $4.5 million.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses moved to Brooklyn from Pennsylvania in 1909. One of the reasons for choosing this New York City borough was its reputation of a publishing capital (the Society publishes its own Bible-based magazine, The Witness).
Brooklyn was also considered a city of churches at the time, Richard Devine, Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman told The Brooklyn Paper.
“As an organization, we don’t put any special importance [on our Brooklyn Heights history],” said Devine. “Sure, some feel some sentimental value, and I’ve been here for 30 years. But we’re committed to moving all our operations to one central location.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses count 7.5 million members globally, according to its website. They also claim to have baptized over 294,368 new members since 2010. They have 116 branch offices worldwide and 107,210 congregations. The Warwick complex would be the biggest one.