Watchtower-replacing Welcome sign unveiled in Brooklyn Heights

Posted On Mon, November 25, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, November 25, 2019 By In Brooklyn Heights

All photos by Will Femia

Last month, Columbia Heights Associates unveiled renderings for a new “Welcome” sign that would replace the iconic “Watchtower” sign atop the building at 25-30 Columbia Heights in Downtown Brooklyn. The Jehovah’s Witnesses had operated their world headquarters here since 1969 but sold the building complex for $340 million in 2016. The new owners are transforming the site into Panorama, a five-building office complex that will also have retail and outdoor space. Their new sign is reminiscent of its predecessor, with 15-foot-tall bright red letters. This Wednesday, it will be officially lit on the 50th anniversary of the first lighting of the “Watchtower” sign.


The sign under construction

The original building was constructed in the 1920s as a manufacturing plant for pharmaceutical company ER Squibb & Sons, who first erected a sign on the building reading “SQUIBB.” They sold the building to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1969, and they replaced the sign with one that read “WATCHTOWER” and included the time and temperature.

When Columbia Heights Associates–a joint venture comprised of CIM Group and Brooklyn-based LIVWRK–bought the site in 2016, the Department of Buildings argued that they could not replace the sign as it had been put up illegally in the first place. However, after locating approval documents, the sign was approved last November. “WELCOME” is 15-feet high and 80-feet wide. It was designed by architect Morris Adjmi and features energy-efficient LEDs, as well as the classic rotating time and temperature display.

The installation of the sign comes after two years of construction wrapped up on Panorama. Conceived by design firm Gensler, the complex of five interconnected buildings spans two city block and boasts “20 outdoor spaces, with sweeping vistas of the East River and Manhattan skyline, flexible and collaborative workspaces, a tenant-focused retail plaza, multi-level landscaped entrances, indoor lounges, interconnecting sky bridges, an on-site parking garage, and an on-site fitness center,” according to a press release. The release also tells us that whoever comes into Panorama as a flagship tenant will be able to replace the sign and “use it as a major branding opportunity.”

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Photos by Will Femia

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Neighborhoods : Brooklyn Heights

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