Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Matt Damon’s Brooklyn Heights condo is in an old Jehovah’s Witnesses building. What became of all these properties?

Eye on Real Estate: A property the Jehovah’s Witnesses sold when they moved their world headquarters out of Brooklyn Heights to upstate New York is now a condo building where Matt Damon reportedly bought the penthouse.

There are lots of stories to tell about what’s become of the Watchtower’s Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO property portfolio, which the organization disposed of in a multi-year selloff. The most glamorous of the properties is the Standish at 171 Columbia Heights, thanks to the Oscar-winning actor’s reported $16.745 million condo buy there. I’ll tell you more about Damon’s reported deal in a minute.

Purchasers of other Jehovah’s Witnesses properties in the two neighborhoods are now busy developing them into luxury apartment complexes, an upscale seniors residence, modern offices and housing for formerly homeless people.

For nearly a century, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were big-time property owners in these two neighborhoods. They made their presence known with an electric sign that said “Watchtower” atop their waterfront world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights. You could see those blazing red letters on the Brooklyn Bridge and in Lower Manhattan.

Many other properties served as residences for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some were used for Bible-printing.

On the opposite side of Front Street between Jay and Bridge streets, you’ll see Megalith Capital Management and Urban Realty Partners’ rental-apartment development 181 Front St. and the back of their condo conversion at 200 Water St. The Jehovah’s Witnesses sold these properties to the developers for a combined $30.6 million in 2013, Finance Department records indicate.

The Water Street industrial building was a Brillo pad factory in decades past, before the Watchtower owned it.

When you’re ready to leave this block, walk down Front Street to the corner of Adams Street. Hope Street Capital’s eye-catching condo development 98 Front St. is there. The real estate firm is constructing the 10-story building on a site it bought from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017.