The Massive Sale of the Jehovah’s Wittnesses estate has further changed the Brooklyn real estate scene.

By Alyssa Gautieri

Solidifying its role in the Brooklyn market, Leslie J. Garfield & Co., has sold two of the final properties within the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ $1 billion Brooklyn Portfolio.

Ravi Kantha and Matthew Lesser of the Lesser Kantha Team represented Hawkins Way Capital in both transactions. The duo oversaw the sale of 97 Columbia Heights for $58 million and 117-125 Columbia Heights for $18 million.

Selling properties that they’ve accumulated for nearly a century, the Jehovah’s Witnesses is relocating to Warwick, New York. This relocation is changing the Brooklyn Heights market.

“[The Jehovah’s Witnesses] owned some of the most trophy real estate in all of New York,” Lesser said. “[These transactions] will create a new neighborhood, which already has so much history, but is evolving, changing and growing.”

97 Columbia Heights sits on the site of the former Hotel Margaret, which was destroyed in a 1980 fire. The current 12-story building boasts 88,610 square feet and offers 97 residential units. “The building is certainly more modern for Brooklyn Heights,” Lesser said. “But, its uniqueness lies in its location, which overlooks the promenade. It offers views of the water from nearly every floor.”

Nestled amongst quintessential townhouses and charming brownstones, 117-125 Columbia Heights is made up of three townhouses. Eluding rare, Brutalism architecture, the five-story, 53,629-square-foot building occupies the southwestern corner of Columbia Heights and Pineapple Street.

Hawkins Way Capital, a real estate investment firm headquartered in Los Angeles, purchased both properties. “The purchaser recognized that these assets are truly one of a kind,” Lesser said. “The sales solidify the desire to invest heavily in the Brooklyn Heights market.”

Brooklyn Heights has seen average sales prices increase by 300 percent within the last decade, according to a New York Townhouse Report published by Leslie J. Garfield & Co. “We have started to see a shift in Downtown Manhattan buyers moving to Brooklyn Heights,” Lesser said. “From a value standpoint, the fact that people are willing to spend $70, $80 or $90 million on assets in Brooklyn Heights assures the fact that Brooklyn Heights is a real market competitor with Manhattan.”

Photos by Leslie J. Garfield