Check out a digital 3D model of the Domino Sugar Factory

dominoSadly the Domino Sugar Factory has been partially demolished at this point, but [Read more…]

Farm on Kent to host July 4th event and begin outdoor dinner series this month

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Starting this month, Williamsburg’s Farm on Kent will begin hosting events on the lot adjacent to the Domino Sugar Factory, at South Fourth and North Kent. The first event is this Saturday, as visitors are encouraged to come watch the fireworks beside the East River and Williamsburg Bridge:

We’ve been spreading soil and plants throughout a parcel of land along the East River, and this Independence Day it will be made accessible to the public for the time in over 150 years. Join us and your neighbors for an evening of fireworks, farm-to-table tacos and a slice of South Williamsburg history. [Read more…]

First Domino Sugar condostrosity to be six stories taller than the Edge

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On Sunday, we bid adieu to Domino once again with the closing of the Kara Walker installation. Now we find that Two Trees, run by the insane Walentas family, have filed permits for the first building to be constructed on the site:

DOB filings indicate that 320 Kent Avenue will span 470,106 square feet and 36 stories, rising 401 feet to its pinnacle. The tower will include a 41,801 square foot commercial component, and the remainder will be residential, divided between 392 units.

As mentioned before, DeBlasio and councilman Stephen Levin are not interested in battling for air rights in North Brooklyn. Instead, they are allowing developers to build as high they wish, provided they throw the community a bone in the form of affordable housing. Affordable housing is of course an important issue, but so are air rights, public transportation, and the desires of the community.

It’s official, the Two Trees plan to turn Domino into Dubai/Disneyland has been approved

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Goodbye historic landmark, hello Lego set condos:

The latest Domino Sugar factory development plan passed the Council in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, opening the way for construction on the mega-development after years of heated debate over the project.

Developer Two Trees Management Company’s vision includes five towers that are supposed to hold thousands of residential units, office space, retail stores, and a school. The company put forward the plan despite the previous owner having obtained city approval for its proposal over activist opposition. Company officials said the unusual strategy it pursued after buying the stagnant site for $185 million a year and a half ago paid off.

“We took a big gamble, passing up an approved plan and going back through the political process because we wanted to build something innovative and worthy of the magnificent site and the dynamic neighborhood,” said Dave Lombino, Two Trees’ head of special projects. “Today’s approval is an endorsement of that vision and we can’t wait to break ground later this year. We hope Domino will become a model for thoughtful mixed-use development, with world-class design, affordable housing and new open space.” [Read more…]

Kara Walker installed a huge Sphinx in Domino – ‘very sad’ about the fate of the historic landmark

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From Gothamist:

This Saturday Kara Walker’s impressive installation at the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg will open to the public, and yesterday we got inside for a little sneak peek. The work—her first major public project, commissioned by Creative Time—is still in progress, but mostly complete. The pieces have been created out of “unconventional materials and in monumental scale to examine the history of the sugar trade and its many implications past and present.” The massive, site-specific installation is a bit of a departure from the legendary artist’s previous works. [Read more…]

Mayor’s office gets additional affordable housing for Domino despite Two Trees’ “skillfully framed” PR campaign

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Jed Walentas of Two Trees and Mayor de Blasio [via]

From a press release sent by the mayor’s office:

[Two Trees] will provide an additional 110,000 square feet of affordable housing as part of the project, for a total of 537,000 square feet of affordable housing. The proposal will create 700 affordable apartments covering a range of incomes, including a significant number of units sized for families. Affordable apartments will be integrated throughout the complex, ensuring a dynamic mixed-income community. Unlike prior proposals, all of those units will be permanently affordable. Work on the first building will begin in December 2014.

This is, of course, great news. Especially since The Times and the Daily News have shaped the debate in a way that frames de Blasio’s actions as grandstanding or too aggressive. The latter said de Blasio would likely “doom” the Domino project with his “hellbent” scheme to boost affordable housing. [Read more…]

Big baby Jed Walentas — who’s Daddy built DUMBO — threatens to revert to hated Domino Sugar plan

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management, credit Daly News

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management playing with his blocks, credit Daily News

Turns out Jed doesn’t like de Blasio’s insistence on creating more affordable housing in Williamsburg. Like any pampered man-child, he’s decided to throw a temper tantrum should his Domino Sugar rezoning requests fail to be approved:

The mayor’s administration is insisting that the developer add even more space for affordable housing and, as a result, fewer market-rate apartments, in exchange for the zoning changes that Mr. Walentas needs to build his towers with spectacular views of Midtown Manhattan.

Mr. Walentas is balking, and has even threatened to revert to the older, unpopular plan.

“I’d very much like to work this out with them,” Mr. Walentas said on Thursday. “But what they’re currently asking for is not workable.”

With the New York Planning Commission set to vote on the project on Wednesday, Domino Sugar has become a test of the mayor’s resolve to “reset” the city’s relationship with developers and extract more concessions from them, with a goal of building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing. [Read more…]

HAO and community group Williamsburg Independent People have come up with an alternative proposal for Domino

Which do you like better. A:

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Or B:

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There’s only one sensible answer. Of course this counter-plan will never come to fruition, but we can dream.

HAO, together with community group, Williamsburg Independent People, hope to save the historic Domino Sugar Factory site and halt the current masterplan by SHoP Architects which proposes an additional 2,200 luxury apartments along the East River waterfront in Brooklyn, New York.

HAO’s counter proposal seeks to adaptively reuse the existing factory buildings, including the iconic Civil War-era Domino Sugar Refinery — which has defiantly held its ground amidst heavy redevelopment in surrounding areas. Not unlike SHoP’s proposal, HAO aims to regenerate these spaces into a “world-class cultural destination” that combines public and private programs. [Read more…]