Low-Income, Supportive Housing Coming To Former Jehovah’s Witnesses Hotel

DUMBO – An affordable and supportive housing facility will move into 90 Sands Street, the former site of a residential hotel once owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

90 Sands Street (Photo: Scott Bintner via Property Shark)

Breaking Ground, a supportive and affordable housing provider, will convert the vacant, 30-story building, located beside the Manhattan Bridge, into a residence for low-to-moderate income families and the formerly homeless, Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported. The non-profit organization is in the process of acquiring the property from its current owner, the real estate firm RFR, who purchased the former hotel from the Jehovah’s Witnesses last year for $135 million.

Of the 507 apartments at 90 Sands, 127 are one-bedrooms which will be reserved for low-income, working families, while the 380 studio units will be set aside for individuals who are low-income and previously homeless, according to Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The units will be permanently rent-stabilized and supportive services will be available onsite for residents.

Breaking Ground hopes to close on the sale on the property in September and start the interior renovations in February 2019. Tenants are scheduled to move in February 2020.

RFR was originally going to partner with Kushner Companies in the 90 Sands Street purchase, but Kushner ended up pulling out of the deal. The two firms had planned to partner with Ian Shrager and transform 90 Sands into a boutique hotel with 600 rooms as well as a rotating, glass-enclosed, 200-seat rooftop restaurant, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle article. Kushner Companies recently sold its stake in the former Watchtower headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights (part of the 600,000-square-foot office and retail project called Panorama) and another Watchtower site at 85 Jay Street.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters were located in DUMBO for nearly fifty years before the group relocated to Warwick, New York and sold off its many real estate holdings in the area.

Breaking Ground President & CEO Brenda Rosen will present her organization’s proposal for the 90 Sands Street project at the Community Board 2 Land-Use Committee Meeting on Wednesday, June 20 at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, 5 Metrotech Center, Dibner Building, LC 400.

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Pamela Wong

Pam was a staff reporter at Bklyner, covering North-Western parts of Brooklyn between 2016 and 2019. She also writes about art at arthag.typepad.com.

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