Landmarks Asks for Redesign for Domino Factory Conversion

Some of the members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission didn’t like the proposed glass addition atop the landmarked 1880s Domino Sugar Refinery factory at Tuesday’s public hearing, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported. However, the commissioners support Two Trees’ plan to convert the factory into office space. The rendering by architects Beyer Blinder Belle, above, shows a four-story, glass-covered addition facing the East River; there is a three-story addition on the other side of the property.

The plan calls for the iconic yellow Domino Sugar sign to sit on top of the building, along with smaller versions of the sign above street-level entrances. Commissioners objected to the “height and massing” of the addition, according to the Eagle. Confusingly, a previous proposal from the site’s former developers already approved by Landmarks also included a four-story glass addition on top of the building, according to the Eagle.

“The proposal before the Commission today contains more square footage than the prior approval due to the retention of the building’s core and a second rooftop addition,” said the Historic Districts Council’s Nadezhda Williams. But not everyone hated it: Commission chair Robert Tierney called the design “extremely appropriate and impressive,” Curbed reported. The adaptive reuse of the red brick factory at 292-314 Kent Avenue is just a small part of Two Trees’ $1,500,000,000 development plan for the Domino site, which also includes retail, a new office building, and high-rise residential buildings with 2,200 apartments.

Domino Factory Makeover Plan Must be Refined [Brooklyn Eagle]
Domino Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

7 Comment

  • daveinbedstuy

    Looks great. Let them get on with it. Individual tastes by LPC board members should not be allowed to sway a decision that should focus on broader matters

  • I disagree — I think it looks like crap. But I also think my aesthetic opinion is not of much value here — and agree generally that the LPC process is nutty. It would seem that the better way to do landmarking would be have slightly more nuance in the process so that the landmark report can identify those items that are crucial to the LPC mission and those that aren’t — I have a hard time believing that the street level entrances to an old factory were deemed so worthy of LPC protection that the addition of “smaller versions of the [Domino] sign” should warrant any objection. (By contrast, where an entire block or neighborhood is being landmarked, it’s a lot more believable that LPC was focused on almost everything that makes the neighborhood cohesive.)

    OTOH, I kind of get the objction about the expansion of the glass roof top addition — it’s visually cacophanous (is that the right phrase here?) to the 100-year old brick and mortarness and takes away the uniqueness of the buidling by belnding it into the rest of the glass wall proposal along ther rest of the waterfront. If the building has landmark value as a factory, adding a weird glass module on top detracts from that value.

    Certainly, the article gives the impression that the board feels misgivings about having approved the prior addition. I assume they did so because its purpose was to compensate the owners for significant loss of usable sqaure footage from the removal of the building core which would have significant light and air benefits to the new residents. Two Trees’ new plan doesn’t change that interior core so the developer justification is less compelling.

  • This vendetta for how terrible the rest of the site design is–don’t mistake it for anything else. Of course the only attractive part of this development is going to be beaten to death by the LPC, since it’s the only place they have any power.

  • I happened to be at LPC when this was reviewed – it was very close to approval. Based on all the comments from the commissioners. it will only take some minor revisions for this to be approved. There were no misgivings about the prior approval, and pretty broad support for this latest design.

  • It looks like Herzog & De Meurons addition to the Tate Modern in London.

  • East New York

    I’ve never liked the look of this place. Even in the rendering, it looks like a run-down factory. Like some Victorian workhouse. Awful.