AUGUST 5, 2013 | UNITED STATES
NEW YORK—Jehovah’s Witnesses officially started construction on their new world headquarters in Warwick, New York, on Monday, July 29, 2013, after receiving a major approval from local officials.
On Wednesday, July 17, the Town of Warwick Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan for the Witnesses’ new world headquarters, the final approval needed to obtain building permits to start construction. This approval came exactly four years after the Witnesses acquired the Warwick property on July 17, 2009. After obtaining their first building permit on Friday, July 26, the Witnesses began site work and foundation excavations on Monday, July 29.
The Witnesses’ willingness to use environmentally sustainable building design was a key factor in the unanimous approval by the town planning board. For example, conservation efforts will include the installation of an erosion-control barrier that also provides a perimeter of protection for wildlife, such as timber rattlesnakes, which will be kept safely away from the construction area.
“We are very pleased to continue working with officials in the town of Warwick and to move the project forward,” states Richard Devine, a spokesman for the Witnesses. “This approval from the town planning board is a major development in relation to the relocation of our world headquarters from Brooklyn to Warwick.” Enrique Ford, who is on the Witnesses’ construction project committee along with Mr. Devine, adds: “Obtaining this site plan and special-use permit in July was the first critical scheduling milestone to reach our goal of finishing the project in four years.”
The property was formerly owned by the International Nickel Company for various uses, including a headquarters office and a research and development facility, from 1960 to 1987. After being unoccupied for about four years, the site was acquired by King’s College with the intention of converting it into a college campus. That use of the site never came to fruition, and the property remained vacant for more than two decades until the Witnesses purchased the property in 2009.
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000