All photos by Will Femia. Header image: CIM Group/LIVWRK.

For nearly half a century until 2017, the WATCHTOWER sign stood guard over the DUMBO waterfront marking the global headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Between 2017 and 2018, the complex was sold to developers and now as part of a new creative office and retail campus at 30 Columbia Heights called Panorama, a new sign reading “WELCOME” was completed today. This would be the third sign atop this building, which was originally built for the ER Squibb & Sons. (The pharmaceutical company was active in nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard as well, developing the first anesthetic ethers for use in surgery in the now-abandoned Brooklyn Navy Yard hospital).

Panorama was developed by Columbia Heights Associates, a joint venture of CIM Group and LIVWRK, and designed by Gensler. The new WELCOME sign was designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, measuring 80 feet wide and 15 feet tall inspired by the color and size of the WATCHTOWER sign. It uses energy efficient LED lighting and has a rotating time and temperature display like the previous iteration. Jason Schreiber, Principal of Investments at CIM Group said in a statement, “Seen from Lower Manhattan and greeting travelers as they cross the Brooklyn Bridge, ‘Welcome’ embodies the message to our tenants and the entire city that Panorama is a vital part of the transformed Brooklyn waterfront and reinforces the idea that Brooklyn is an inviting place for companies to set up shop.”

View of WATCHTOWER buildings from ManhattanWhat the sign looked like when it read WATCHTOWER

Brooklyn WELCOME sign under constructionWhat the sign looked like in August when we took a tour of the complex

The sign is not lit yet, but will be officially this Wednesday November 27th which happens to also be the 50th anniversary of the first lighting of the WATCHTOWER sign in 1969. Asher Abehsera, founder and CEO of LIVWRK says, “The ever-evolving landscape of Brooklyn’s culture, energy, and creativity is now signified by a new beacon of light that is the ‘Welcome’ sign.We see this marquee sign as a message to the greater New York community to walk over the bridge and to discover the joy and charm of experiencing DUMBO. As William Shakespeare said, ‘A table-full of welcome!’”

Next, see inside 90 Sands, the former Watchtower dormitory that is being redeveloped into supportive housing.