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Monday, April 2, 2012

Chart Of The Day

The following is a rundown of the more notable pieces of real estate put up for sale by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  The parent company of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization has 34 buildings up for sale in Brooklyn, New York.  The list includes four parking lots, 17 residential buildings, and 13 buildings zoned for manufacturing.

In recent weeks, the WBTS has sold three buildings in the area, for a total of $14.2 million.  With a total square footage of 25,800, it comes to approximately $550 per square foot of real estate.  The 34 remaining buildings have a total square footage in the neighborhood of 3.4 million.  At the current going rate, they're likely to make something in the $1.8 - $2 billion range.

Three years ago, the organization purchased a 248 acre piece of land in Warwick, NY, for $11.5 million to move their entire publishing operation to.  In the time since, they have "laid off" a very large percentage of their staff.  I use quotation marks because the facilities' workers didn't make a salary.  They received room and board, but essentially worked for free.  Some of these properties have been part of the Witnesses portfolio for decades.  In 2004, they sold one building for $205 million, after having bought it 30 years prior for less than $4 million.

The Witnesses intend on announcing this Sunday that, starting in January, both the Watchtower and Awake magazines will go from 32 pages per issue, down to 16. (The announcement letter can be found here.)

My question is:  Where is all of the money going?