Domino Development Passes City Council, Loses 4 Floors & Will Pay "Prevailing Wages"

It’s a go. The 36-floor project, which will create 2,200 apartments (660 of which will actually be affordable), 143,000 sq. feet of community, office, and retail space, keep the iconic sign, and create some new waterfront space, will break ground in one year and take ten years to complete.

Here’s the good:

During last-minute negotiations, the developer agreed to reduce two planned 40-story towers to 36 floors. The lost space from those floors will be added to other buildings on the site. The corporation also agreed that construction, building service and eventual supermarket workers at the New Domino would be paid prevailing wages.

and from before, the bad:

Levin (D-Williamsburg) and his mentor, Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), had railed against the project, leading rallies against it and charging that thousands of new residents would overwhelm the neighborhood, especially already-packed subways and buses.

The spin cycle is on full throttle…

Property owners: “This is a way of turning a dead industrial site into a vibrant, mixed-use and mixed-income community that can be a model for redevelopment

Developer VP: “We’re mostly happy that we can bring the residents of the area the affordable housing they so desperately need.”

Councilman Steve Levin:  “I’m pleased to say that we have come to an agreement with the developer to continue to provide the 660 units of affordable housing while reducing the heights of the larger two towers, which would have blocked the waterfront.”

Councilwoman Diana Reyna: It’s “a true reflection of a collaborative process with the community.”

Councilman Charles Barron: “Some of these jobs never reach the `hood like they need to. I’m hoping that this process will be monitored very closely so that affordability is real and the jobs really come to our neighborhood and come to our people.”

Churches United for Fair Housing: “The true winners of this campaign are the families who will be receiving affordable housing.”

What do you guys think? Is this a good thing, with 660 new affordable-housing units, waterfront space, and well-paying jobs? Or, is it a bad thing, with a new thousand-strong batch of commuters and two 34-story towers shadowing over the neighborhood, blocking the view of the city?

Sources: Daily News, NYTimes, Observer . Photo via Piotr Redlinski for the NYT.


  1. Seriously?! says:


  2. This is f-ing unspeakable on so many levels. First it’s a historical space and landmark that should have been turned into a park and/or museum (no, not about sugar.) Let’s think about all the people that commute to the city every morning. THE CONGESTION IS INSANE ALREADY. Not only will the L train become un-usable (which is practically is every morning) but it’s going to literally change the vibe, and eventually culture of the neighborhood, and not in a good way. The dust, noise, etc that goes along with this construction is going to be HORRIBLE and especially damaging to the new buildings and businesses such as Glasslands Gallery and the new IndieScreen. I can’t believe these morons let this pass.


    I’m so out of this bitch when construction starts to go down…RESIDENTS NEED TO APPEAL!!!

  3. up the yuppies!

  4. Finally Williamsburg is coming into the 21st century.

  5. Fuck Reyna.

  6. the people who oppose this, their main beef seems to be that it will change the character of the neighborhood. dude, you’re one stop away from manhattan, and the earth’s population is going to rise by another 30% in the next 40 years. how do you think that your neighborhood is not going to change?

    if you’re worried about the stress on public transporation, then argue for better public transportation. don’t argue against infill development. infill (as opposed to sprawl) is the most environmentally sensitive (and socially smart) way to build housing, and more housing will always be needed. not to mention, using an existing building is also recycling!

  7. people with these comments like “fuck reyna”: what do you want, besides the utopian ideal for nothing to ever change? what’s the alternative?

    do you want rent to be cheaper? why not increase the housing stock?

  8. Josh, it’s not about the “earth’s population rising.” I’m well aware how population works. It doesn’t need to rise by 30% in my neighborhood. This is forced development, topped off by under the table deals and cash infused lobbying.

    I wasn’t aware that having affordable housing meant being on the waterfront. I’ve lived in and around NYC my whole life and last time I checked, the term affordable and waterfront never went together. I’m not saying there needs to be a tradition of correlation between the two, but why does this oh-so affordable housing need to obstruct the view of thousands of Williamsburg residents, when it could EASILY be located in a different area (even stay in W.burg.)

    As for “better transportation” I’m not sure if you’re new here or something but just FYI for thousands of people who work in the city the subway IS in fact the sole method of mass transportation that people rely on. Unfortunately it’s been this way for decades and as far as the MTA’s budget is concerned, nothing is changing any time soon. The cash strapped subway system is definitely in need of overhaul and INSTEAD of putting money into this unnecessary “infill” put it into R&D for mass transit.

    And really dude? Infill?…whatever you want to call it, it’s not needed.

    “Oh my god we need affordable housing that has a gorgeous view of Manhattan and the East River SO BADLY!!! HURRY!!

    • re: “the population doesn’t need to rise by 30% in my neighborhood”: …because you’re going to somehow invent a magic solution to make your fantastically well-situated, well-appointed, vibrant young neighborhood less desirable, in order to keep people out? good luck. your neighborhood is going to grow in population a lot faster than most neighborhoods on earth.

      re: affordable housing on the waterfront: nobody sat down and decided to build affordable housing on the waterfront as a business idea. this is a result of developers agreeing to include a percentage of affordable units in their developments as a concession, ostensibly to ensure a mixture of incomes in the neighborhood. (of course you could argue that such units are usually flipped into market rate units later on by sneaky means, and you’d be right. you could also argue that it’s just another form of rent control that makes everyone’s rent higher in the long run, and you’d be right about that too.)

      re: “this is forced development”: yeah it has nothing to do with the blistering demand for housing in this area. it has nothing to do with the universal human desire to live next to water, and with an awesome view. it’s just evil greedies forcing people to move here against their will.

      re: the term infill development: there’s a wealth of info on the topic of smart growth:

      re: “[they should] fund R&D for transport [instead of waterfront housing]”: unless someone’s talking about public subsidies for the domino thing (which i don’t think they are, and which i wouldn’t support) then you’re talking about two different pots of cash. developers are developing domino, and the public pays for transport.

      • Brian Ries says:

        the only transportation crossover is the result of last minute discussions b/t the developer and levin…dev’s agreed to provide a shuttle bus to take passengers to nearby subway lines — the l, which doesn’t help morning subway congestion, and the jmz, which would. all good points josh.

  9. i bet i can guess which one out of matt and josh has a business degree, works on wall street, had rich parents and probably frequents spike hill…


  10. not sure if matt realizes but the jmz is the closest line. also not sure if he realizes that the character of this neighborhood changes pretty much every day. including those spaces he wishes to “protect”. he must not have noticed all the other dozens of buildings already going up.

  11. @mark

    mom’s a life-long social worker, dad’s a struggling small businessman. i have 100k in student debt and work in the international humanitarian/development world, focused on poverty reduction. commute to manhattan every day, reading econ books on the subway. voted clinton, nader, kerry, obama. married, 38, double income, no kids, no car, no TV. been in the neighborhood since 2003. anything else you want to know?

  12. Grow up, deal with it. Williamsburg is going to change like ever other part of NYC has. That includes becoming more packed and expensive. OH well it happens you can cry all you want but in 10 years when the Domino Apts open this is going to be a different place. If they didn’t get built it would still be a different place. Go back and find out what Williamsburg was like in 2000 and even 1990, much much different than it is today.

  13. …and just to smoke from Billy’s pipe, the same people who complain “there goes the neighborhood” were having the same thing said about them by the polish, the dominicans, the hassidim, etc., not too long ago. And before them it was someone else complaining about all the polish and hassids moving in, on and on, since the beginning of time.

    People on this thread minimize the effects of increasing population, but basically you have two choices: build more housing or don’t build more housing. If you don’t, rents go up, and you’re priced out. If you do, rents go up at a slower rate, and you’re priced out less quickly.

    @ [this is just] “under the table deals and cash infused lobbying.”: that may be so, i don’t know. but the facts of supply and demand for housing remain.

Speak Your Mind


So We Know You\'re Not Spam *