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Thread: Domino Sugar Factory renovation & additions - Williamsburg - by Beyer Blinder Belle

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    Default Domino Sugar Factory renovation & additions - Williamsburg - by Beyer Blinder Belle

    Here's a small photo of the model. They're about 40 stories designed by Rafael Vinoly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That ^^^ would mean bye bye Domino buildings ..

    And what's that thing in the water?

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Developers of Domino Factory Seek To Balance Preservation, Housing Needs
    At One Time, 98 Percent of Sugar Refining in U.S. Took Place Here



    by Sarah Ryley
    published online 10-05-2006

    WILLIAMSBURG — The battle between preservationists and developers is not new to Brooklyn. But the one over the distinctive Domino Sugar Refinery, built at the end of the 19th Century just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, takes on a new twist because every dollar spent for preservation could be at the expense of affordable housing units.

    CPC Resources Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of the Community Preservation Corp., and Brooklyn developer Isaac Katan, purchased the 13-structure complex in 2004 with the intent of building as many as 2,000 units of affordable housing on the site, according to a Declaration of Intent submitted to the city’s Housing Development Corporation that same year.

    But a more recent effort by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and the Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg to landmark some, if not all, of the complex could reduce the percentage of affordable units by forcing the developer to spend more on preserving the site.

    Lisa Kersavage, a preservationist at MAS, said the group submitted a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last month asking them that “enough buildings be preserved so that a sense of the complex can be retained.” She said a specific date for a public hearing on the matter has not been set, but added that the developer has agreed to meet with the two groups to talk about preserving the site.

    The groups believe the Domino Sugar Refinery is significant because of its role in shaping Brooklyn’s history — at one point, 98 percent of the sugar production in the United States took place at the refinery, which employed “scores of recent immigrants,” according to MAS. The distinctive “Round Art Style” architecture had its origin in Germany, and the neon Domino Sugar sign was installed in 1960.


    Profits from Market-Rate going to Affordable Apts.


    Richard Edmonds, a representative for CPC, explained that of the 2,400 units currently planned for the site, the developer intends to achieve the highest percentage of affordable units possible, but does so by subsidizing them through the market-rate units.

    “Any profits that are realized from the market-rate units are plowed back to CPC to finance affordable housing,” Edmonds said. “But it’s very, very, very expensive to retrofit a building that’s upwards of 120-130 years old [from its former industrial use] to residential housing.”

    He said the cost of retrofitting would be so much greater than developing housing units from the ground up, “that the cost of preservation could offset the amount of affordable housing [CPC] can develop.”


    However, the property owners have been in talks with the Landmarks Preservation Commission about what parts of the site can reasonably be preserved. “The Domino plant is one of the Commission’s major priorities along the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney. “When the sugar refinery was completed in 1884, it was the largest in the world. That’s why we’re currently working closely with the owner and other city agencies to preserve this very important part of our city’s industrial heritage.” Kersavage said MAS would especially like to see the iconic Domino Sugar sign preserved. “I would think it would add excitement to the development.”


    Rezoning the Site


    There’s also the issue of rezoning the site, currently slated for industrial reuse by the Department of City Planning’s Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan, which was approved by the City Council last summer.

    Regina Myer, director of the Brooklyn office of the Department of City Planning, has also said in the past that the department intends to find an industrial reuse for the site.

    Although a representative from the agency confirmed that a rezoning application has not been submitted by the developer, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Daniel Doctoroff told the Eagle last month that the city is involved with the project. Presumably that means the lengthy rezoning process is in its beginning stages, but an environmental review, the first step in the rezoning process, has yet to be completed.

    The economic downturn of the once-powerful Domino Sugar factory began in the late 1980s, when it was bought by the British company, Tate & Lyle. The British firm slowly eliminated jobs in Brooklyn with the idea of consolidating operations in its Baltimore sugar refinery. After a bitter and unsuccessful strike in 2000-01, led by the International Longshoremen’s Association, Tate & Lyle finally closed the Brooklyn factory’s doors in 2004.


    © Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2006

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime View Post
    Developers of Domino Factory Seek To Balance Preservation, Housing Needs
    At One Time, 98 Percent of Sugar Refining in U.S. Took Place Here

    © Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2006


    While yes the area holds special place in history of Brooklyn and Williamsburg I dont think preserving the factory should be more important than provinding affordable housing. Depending on how much it would cost to preserve the sites history, it should be developed into something important to the future of Williamsburg and BRooklyn.

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    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Default 4 towers: 2 - 400 ft, 2 - 300 ft

    BREAKING: Scope Plan for 'The New Domino' Revealed!


    Tuesday, July 3, 2007
    by Lockhart




    Just when you think it's safe to drift into the July 4th holiday, comes this: the first renderings of what the developers want to build on the site of the Domino Sugar Plant on the Williamsburg waterfront. In three letters, OMG. The images come our way via the draft scope document that's just been posted over at the Department of City Planning, and what it portends for this section of the East River waterfront—a site that developers The Refinery LLC are calling The New Domino—is, in essence, more of the same of what's happening up the coast from here: the construction of towering residential buildings, nine in total along the waterfront with two over 400 feet in height, and two over 300 feet in height. As a scope document, the renderings aren't anything more than placeholders for the (surely oh-so-glassy!) architecture to follow, but does give a view of how the developers would like to populate the site.

    As for the Domino Refinery building itself, which is under consideration for Landmarks designation, it would undergo some sort of rehabilitation (assuming the landmarking is green-lighted) for some sort of as-yet uncertain residential/retail/community use, as it becomes enclosed by new residential towers. One crucial note: the developers hope to add floors to the main Refinery building, whether or not it gets landmarked. From what we can gather from the scope document, the iconic Domino Sugar sign—and its building that's always looked to us like a giant sugar box—would be demolished, as would all other structures on the site, several of which are also getting a Landmarks push from preservationists.



    Above, courtesy of the Waterfront Preservation Alliance, a view of the Domino Sugar site as it sits now. The site has been unused since 2004, when the current developers acquired it. The scope document indicates that the developers plan to preserve the sizable central Processing House (which they'll likely be required to do by landmarking), but knock down the Adant House adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. The future of the small Power House, adjacent to the front of the Processing House, is uncertain.



    Above, from the scope document, is the proposed rezone. The key detail here is that the proposed rezoning for much of the Domino site—R-8—matches most of the rest of the Williamsburg waterfront to the north.





    These here are the East and West Elevations of the entire scope plan. To understand better what's going on here, let's go to the scope document:


    PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

    If approved, the proposed actions would allow for the construction of up to 9 new residential structures along four of the waterfront blocks between Grand Avenue and South 5th Street and up to 6 new residential structures on the upland block east of Kent Avenue between South 3rd and South 4th Streets. The buildings along Kent Avenue would range in height from approximately 50 to 100 feet. Two of the buildings along the waterfront would reach heights of 300 feet and two would reach 400 feet. The buildings on the upland portion of the site east of Kent Avenue would rise to a maximum height of 90 feet along Kent Avenue and 140 feet elsewhere on the lot.

    The three buildings which together comprise The Refinery and which are located on the central block of the development between South 2nd and South 3rd Streets, would be reused and converted to some combination of residential, retail/commercial, and community facility uses. As noted above, the program for the reuse of the Refinery building has not been finalized. The project sponsor anticipates adding floors to a portion of the roof of the Refinery building to assist in meeting the project’s goals and objectives as discussed below in “Project Goals and Objectives”. If the Refinery is designated by the LPC, the project sponsor would have to apply to the LPC for a Certificate of Appropriateness for any addition or modification to the exterior of the Refinery. Ground floor retail/commercial uses would be located along both sides of Kent Avenue. Publicly accessible open space, including an esplanade along the waterfront that would connect to Grand Ferry Park to the north of the site, would be constructed as part of the proposed project, as required by the Zoning Resolution.

    Additional open space beyond what is required by zoning would be developed between the Refinery building and the waterfront.

    It is anticipated that the development would be served by water taxi service. Shuttle bus service would also be provided to carry passengers from the proposed development to nearby subway stations.

    The scope document is a long read, 44 pages in total, so if you've got some free time, download the PDF, give it a read, and post any salient details we've missed in the comment thread below. We'll follow up on any promising leads.

    Domino Draft Scope of Work Document [nyc.gov]


    Copyright © 2007 Curbed

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    20+ years ago a couple of friends bought an old house about 3 blocks from the Domino site -- and while they're a bit uneasy about massive development in this quiet little corner of Brooklyn shadowed by the Williamsburg Bridge this deal could increase the value of their property exponentially.

    Good for their kids' pocketbooks, anyway

  7. #7

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    I really don't know why anyone would want to save that thing. It's an ugly old specialized factory. Unless someone actually wants to refine sugar there, it should be completely demolished and the land reused.

    They could build the towers showin the the proposed plan, but the site of the old main factory building could be a nice park, even if there's other parkland proposed for the area in front of the towers..

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
    I really don't know why anyone would want to save that thing. It's an ugly old specialized factory.
    Can you say "Tate Modern"?

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    While some of the Domino complex is really destined for the wrecking ball, the Processing House is a very interesting and, for me, beautiful building.

  10. #10

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    It's a big, rectangular brick box, with a smokestack sticking out of the top.

    I don't have a problem with industrial property, IF IT'S BEING USED FOR IT'S DESIGNATE PURPOSE. I do have a problem with landmarking a highly specialized, obsolete structure that will never again serve it's intended purpose. I'd also have no problem if the wanted to build another industrial facility on the site (it would probably be good for a large power plant, which we could sorely use).

    Do don't say we have to keep this white (or, in this case, brick colored) elephant, because some people find it interesting.



    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    While some of the Domino complex is really destined for the wrecking ball, the Processing House is a very interesting and, for me, beautiful building.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
    It's a big, rectangular brick box, with a smokestack sticking out of the top.
    One of those is at this moment London's number one tourist attraction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tate_Modern.

    It was headed for the chopping block.

    http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/

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    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I do have a problem with landmarking a highly specialized, obsolete structure that will never again serve it's intended purpose.
    Obsolescence is in the eye of the beholder. And why should a structure be limited to its original purpose? Humans find new uses for things all the time. Especially buildings.

    So, Balduccis, a grocery store, is in an old bank on 8th avenue.
    The old Nabisco factory is now a jewel known as Chelsea Market.
    There are many more highly successful examples.

  13. #13

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    But what's the opportunity cost? Look at the aforementioned museum in London. Yeah, they reused an old powerplant. But they could have torn it down, and build a purposed designed building, exactly for their needs, and could have gotten a starchitect to build a building that might actually be worthy of landmark status.

    And an old pile of bricks is still and old pile of bricks.

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    Obsolescence is in the eye of the beholder. And why should a structure be limited to its original purpose? Humans find new uses for things all the time. Especially buildings.

    So, Balduccis, a grocery store, is in an old bank on 8th avenue.
    The old Nabisco factory is now a jewel known as Chelsea Market.
    There are many more highly successful examples.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    MikeW --

    Seems you're assuming that the new Tate doesn't suit the Museum's purposes and that re-use of existing power plant structure wasn't cost effective. All of that appears to be belied by the great success the Tate is experiencing.

    And if "an old pile of bricks is still and old pile of bricks" then isn't a new pile of bricks just a new pile of bricks (or glass or metal)?

    Remember everything new soon becomes old.

    Perhaps all buildings should come with an Expiration Date: "Tear This Down On or Before _________ "

  15. #15

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    That's not entirely a bad idea. But in point of fact, circumstances dictate that date. We just need to see the writing on the wall.

    Take our sugary if obsolete friend in Greenpoint. I'll concede that someone might be able to come up with some reuse for it. But I bet it would be much more effective for practically any use, to clear the land, and then build something designed directly for the purpose, be it residential, industrial, parks, cultural, whatever.

    The building itself is old. Old doesn't make it historic in and of itself. So now we're going to keep evey old building just because it's old. Sorry, I just don't buy this. The city has to evolve. If the preservation nutcases we have now were around in 1900, this city would still be a lowrise slum, because they couldn't tear themselves away from the old coldwater tenement sand wood shacks that were being cleared to build the first generation of skyscrapers.

    I'll say this now (and I've probably said it before). Historic preservation is an inherent threat to the continued prosperity and economic influence of NYC. There's only so much land, and when obsolete buildings need to go to make room for current needs, they gotta go. I know I'll get crap from the "look how much tourist business we get from our quaint old neighborhoods" crowd. Sorry, but that doesn't fly. This isn't Orlando or Vegas. NYC wasn't built as a tourist trap. NYC draws people (tourists included) because it's the center of the commerical and, to a large extent, cultural world. In the end preservation works against this.

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    MikeW --

    <Snip>

    Remember everything new soon becomes old.

    Perhaps all buildings should come with an Expiration Date: "Tear This Down On or Before _________ "

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