Tuesday, September 11, 2007
"New Domino" Unveiled-August 1, 2007
The mystery surrounding the impending development and transformation of the Williamsburg Domino Sugar Factory was revealed when Community Preservation Corporation Resources head Michael Lappin gave an on-site press conference last Tuesday. The CPC bought the property in 2004 in conjunction with Isaac Katan for $55,831,875 and plan on undertaking a project estimated to costed $1.3 billion and take 6-8 years to complete.
Public debate has centered on the site since Katan and the CPC purchased the property. Before the plans were made public, multiple preservationist organizations such as the Waterfront Preservation Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg weighed in on the project publicly, "The Domino Sugar Refinery is one of the last major industrial sites on Williamsburg's waterfront. WPA supports the redevelopment of the site, provided that architecturally and historically significant buildings such as the refinery, Adant House and Power House are preserved as part of the redevelopment. We believe that a comprehensive preservation program, combined with high-quality new design and affordable housing will best serve the Williamsburg community."
One thing the CPC definitely plans on doing is using the space to provide affordable housing. In the outlined plan, 660 units, or 30% of the 2,200 housing units to be built on the 11.2 acre site will be set aside for "below-market" priced housing. 100 units will be for families making $21,000 a year, 330 for families making $40,000, 100 units for seniors who make 50% of the median income of the community, and 130 affordable units for families earning in the $90,000 a year range. The units will be spread throughout multiple towers of varying heights, the tallest reaching up to forty stories.
The project also calls for 120,000 square feet to be used as commercial space and 100,000 square feet set aside for community space. Under the plans, the central refinery building will be preserved. Developers plan to "in effect scoop out of the insides of the building," and possibly build an addition to its roof said Lappin. At this point, it looks as if the classic "Domino Sugar" sign will be preserved as well although the building across which it reads will not be. The sign will most likely stretch across a free-standing structure or a new building.
The development marks "the first time in several generations that this part of the waterfront will be open to the public," Mr. Lappin said, denoting 4 acres of publicly accessible open space, as well as a new pier for water taxi service connecting the development to neighboring sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Developers are optimistic the public review process will be completed by mid-2008 and break ground by the end of that year.