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Jehovah's Witnesses Plan Development on Former GEICO Site, Woodbury

The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, having finalized the purchase of a 20-acre property in Woodbury from GEICO for $27 million in December 2022, is moving forward with ambitious plans for the site. This strategic acquisition and subsequent development plan highlight a significant transformation for the property, which had been a central GEICO office location for over five decades.

Revitalizing Woodbury's Landscape

Upon acquiring the property at 750 Woodbury Road, the religious organization outlined a detailed proposal to the Town of Oyster Bay, seeking approval to subdivide the land. The plan includes the demolition of the existing 235,635-square-foot office building, making way for a new 52,400-square-foot assembly hall, a 3,900-square-foot maintenance building, and a 2,500-square-foot residence. These new structures are set to occupy approximately 9.74 acres of the southern portion of the site, with the remaining 10.23 acres designated for sale.

Church officials have remained tight-lipped about the specifics of their plans. However, the brokerage team from Newmark, led by Scott Berfas, has been tasked with marketing the available parcel. Berfas emphasized the rarity and potential of this offering, noting the opportunity to cater to a diverse range of commercial uses, subject to town approval.

Impact on the Community and Tax Revenue

The former GEICO site's transition to a religious organization poses significant ramifications for the local tax revenue, with the town losing approximately $1.227 million in annual property taxes. The future development of the remaining parcel, however, offers a chance to mitigate this impact, depending on the nature of the eventual buyer and development plans. The property's zoning for light industry broadens the possibilities for its future use, yet requires town approval for any proposed developments.

GEICO's relocation to Melville, following the sale, marks the end of an era for the insurance giant in Woodbury, paving the way for the Jehovah's Witnesses to establish a new presence in the area. The failed attempt by a New Jersey developer to convert the site into a warehousing and distribution facility underscores the complexities and challenges of redeveloping such a significant parcel.

Looking Forward

As the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses awaits a hearing before the town's Planning Advisory Committee, the broader community watches with interest. The development not only signifies a new chapter for the property but also serves as a pivotal moment for Woodbury, potentially reshaping its commercial landscape. The sale and development of the former GEICO site reflect broader trends in real estate and land use, highlighting the dynamic interplay between community interests, commercial development, and religious organizations.

The unfolding story of the former GEICO property in Woodbury is a testament to the ever-changing nature of land use and development. As stakeholders await further developments, the impact of these plans on the community and the local economy will be closely monitored. The Jehovah's Witnesses' project is more than a construction endeavor; it's a significant event that may influence the future trajectory of Woodbury's development and identity.

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