Williamsburg art collective El Puente Muralistas are exploring the neighborhood’s culture, religion and links to the Caribbean sugar trade in a new mural painted on the Domino Sugar Factory’s northern construction wall. Local residents, teens and elected officials joined the artists in starting the mural, “Past Present Prediction,” Friday afternoon.
Two Trees’ Domino proposal has cleared another level of the land use review process. On the last day of the year, Tuesday, outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz approved the plan along with a few minor modifications, such as variances for zoning, commercial space and affordable housing.
“We are extremely grateful for Borough President Markowitz’s support for the Domino Sugar project over the past year and approval of our plans this week,” said Two Trees’ Jed Walentas in an emailed statement. “We look forward to working with new Borough President Eric Adams and Brooklyn leaders over the next few years to bring more affordable housing, local jobs, and much needed public open space to South Williamsburg.”
Next up, Domino will need approval from the City Planning Commission and the City Council to get full ULURP certification.
Domino Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by SHoP Architects
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.
The City Planning Commission is expected to certify Two Trees’ plans for the Domino Sugar refinery this afternoon, Crain’s reports. Developer Jed Walentas of Two Trees scrapped the ULURP-approved plans for the site, which were originally drawn up by previous developer CPC Resources. The new SHoP-designed proposal promises an overhaul of the landmarked Domino building and four new buildings with 2,300,000 square feet of residential space, 500,000 square feet of offices and 70,000 square feet of retail. Once City Planning certifies the plan, it will still have to undergo a new ULURP process with several levels of public review. Demolition started on some of the smaller buildings in the complex earlier this month, and Two Trees told Crain’s they hope to break ground on the development in late 2014.
Starting Gun Looms for Domino Sugar [Crain’s]
A tall construction fence went up around the Domino Sugar Factory site in Williamsburg last week and demo at the northern end of the site has begun. Last week, Two Trees updated community leaders via a letter and put up a website where it will post updates about the project every two weeks.
The Refinery building, the historic brick structure that is topped by the iconic Domino sign, was landmarked in 2007 and is not at risk of being torn down. DOB approved demo permits for buildings at 2 Grand Street and 314 Kent Avenue in September. In August, as reported, Two Trees said demo could start as early as September.
The creation of a large mixed-use conversion envisioned by former owners CPC was approved back in 2010; Two Trees bought the 11-acre site back in October of 2012 and in March released its $1.5 billion plan for the waterfront property, which features 2,284 apartments and 631,240 square feet of office space. The plan still needs to go through the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP).
Opponents of the project have said Domino should finish the land review process before beginning any demo and wondered why the demo filings say “the scope of work does not require related asbestos abatement as defined in the regulations of the NYC DEP” when a 2010 environmental impact study said that asbestos was found “throughout the facility” and that an “additional survey and abatement would be required to remove all asbestos-containing materials prior to demolition of the buildings and redevelopment of the project site.”
The non-landmarked buildings on this site are going to come down one way or another because of the 2010 approval. The asbestos abatement of the entire site took six months and was completed in September.