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Jehovah's Witnesses Purchase GEICO Property in Long Island, Unveil Plans for Redevelopment into Assembly Hall

Former GEICO Woodbury Property

In a significant real estate transaction, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has acquired the sprawling 236,365-square-foot office building on a 20-acre plot at 750 Woodbury Road, Long Island, from GEICO for a sum of $27 million. The sale marks a pivotal moment for both parties involved, signaling a new phase of development for the Woodbury property.

This acquisition comes after a series of events that saw GEICO's initial plans for the property derailed. In 2021, GEICO was in talks to sell the Woodbury property to a New Jersey-based developer for a projected $48 million. However, these negotiations fell through when the Town of Oyster Bay denied permission for the intended transformation of the site into a warehousing and distribution complex.

The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, known for their well-maintained and environmentally conscious properties, stepped in as the new buyer, envisioning a transformation that aligns with their community-focused values. In a move that demonstrates their commitment to the local community, the Jehovah's Witnesses have unveiled their plans for the property.

Rendering of future Assembly Hall

A spokesperson for the organization, Robert Hendriks, outlined the proposed development during a Community Information Meeting on June 7, 2023. The former GEICO parcel will be subdivided into two nearly equal parcels. The rear portion will undergo redevelopment to create an "assembly hall," serving as a regional conference center primarily for weekend gatherings of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Greater Long Island community. The assembly hall is designed to span 53,000 square feet and accommodate 2,100 seats, supplemented by two additional support buildings.

Interestingly, the existing GEICO building will remain operational during the construction phase, serving as a hub for design and construction activities. Upon the completion of the assembly hall, the plan calls for the demolition of the former GEICO building. Subsequently, the front 10 acres of the property, situated along Woodbury Road, will be put up for sale.

"This is important for the community because it will assist in getting a portion of this property back on the tax roll," explained Hendriks. This commitment to contributing to the community's fiscal health underscores the organization's dedication to being a responsible and valued neighbor.

One of the notable aspects of the Jehovah's Witnesses' approach to this acquisition is their decision not to seek tax exemption for 2023. Instead, the organization has voluntarily paid taxes on the parcel, a gesture aimed at supporting the local community and mitigating potential budgetary shortfalls for the Town of Oyster Bay.

As the Woodbury property undergoes this transformative journey, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing the local community while honoring its spiritual mission. The acquisition and redevelopment project serve as a testament to the organization's role as both a spiritual institution and a conscientious community partner.

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