Last week, Two Trees filed a second round of building permits for its megadevelopment at the Domino Sugar Refinery. The building at 320 Kent Avenue will rise 36 stories and stand 401 feet tall — even larger than the first 35-story tower planned at 2 Grand Street.

The 470,106-square-foot complex will encompass 392 units split among 428,801 square feet. The first three floors will house 41,801 square feet of commercial space, which includes retail on the ground floor and office space on the second and third floors, according to Schedule A filings.

Ismael Levya is the architect of record, but SHoP Architects is designing the project. Although we’re not sure how many affordable apartments will be in this building, the city pushed Two Trees to build 700 affordable units out of 2,300 total planned for the development.

According to NY YIMBY, whose story we did not see until after this was written, 320 Kent Avenue is Building D. The above photo shows site C next to the landmarked refinery building and site E in front of it, now a temporary park. Click through to the jump to see a rendering of the building.

Update: A rep from Two Trees tells us that the permits don’t indicate the order of actual groundbreaking and construction, and are for infrastructure work like water, sewer, and utility connections on all the waterfront sites.


Two Trees’ development plan for the Domino Sugar Refinery is one step closer to reality today with the Landmark Preservation Commission’s 7-0 vote to approve a design for adaptive reuse of the landmarked 1880s factory. The commissioners greenlighted the Walentas’ plans to convert the factory into office space with a four-story glass addition on the roof and a three-story addition on the back side of the building.

Despite their previous complaints about the additions, the LPC ultimately supported the design shown in this rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects. The landmarked main factory is the only part of the Domino complex on Kent Avenue that will not be demolished to make way for the $1,500,000,000 development project. When construction finishes, the Domino site will have 2,200 apartments, retail and 631,000 square feet of office space.

Domino Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle via Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Provocative and award-winning artist Kara Walker will transform the Domino Sugar factory into a massive art installation in May, Gothamist reported. Arts nonprofit Creative Time has released details about the project, which will “respond to both the building and its history, exploring a radical range of subject matter and marking a major departure from her practice to date,” according to its website.

Titled “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” the 90,000-square-foot installation will pay “homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” Last spring, Creative Time took over Domino to host its spring gala. Creative Time sent Gothamist the images above to illustrate her inspiration for the work.

Kara Walker Is Creating an Installation Inside Domino Sugar Refinery [Gothamist]
Image by Creative Time via Gothamist


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.

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


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.

Two Trees Gets Demo Permit for Domino [Brownstoner]
Two Trees’ Ambitious New Proposal for Domino [Brownstoner]



Developer Isaac Katan may soon be out of the picture when it comes to the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar complex in Williamsburg, according to a story in yesterday’s New York Observer: “The developer of the Domino Sugar Factory failed to receive an injunction in State Supreme Court Tuesday to block its partner from recapitalizing the proposed $1.5 billion project. The decision appeared to clear the way for the Community Preservation Corporation [CPC], a joint owner of the site, to proceed with a deal to hand the majority stake to the project’s senior lender, Pacific Coast Capital Partners, LLC. Isaac Katan, who has been a fifty-fifty partner with CPC in the 11-acre former factory, had launched the suit in March seeking an injunction on the restructuring deal because it would significantly dilute both his and CPC’s interest in the project, which sits along the Brooklyn waterfront in Williamsburg.” CPC and Katan have made the news recently for being at odds with each other over plans for the redevelopment of the huge, waterfront property. Katan vows to fight on, so Williamsburg’s biggest would-be development may be on ice for quite a time to come.
Court Swats Down Lawsuit At Domino Factory Paving Way For Ownership Shakeup [NYO]
Photo by Dan Nguyen