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

  1. #76

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    ^^ If that is true, that sounds pretty reasonable. However, the Observer article seemed to imply that the more sparse tower-in-the-park template that dominates the likes of "The Edge" or "Northside Piers" is being advocated here. And while the original Domino plan looked dense and fairly urban to me, Edge and Northside are decidedly Jersey City-esque...

    From the article:
    "Among the notable tidbits are an alternative plan with less density (consistent with the density up the East River in the rest of the Williamsburg waterfront)..."

  2. #77
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    Although it's hard to really tell specifically what is being countered by those who are against the Domino plan, iooking over some info on the "alternative" proposal it seems they mainly want to minimize the required Special Permits / variances and downsize the tower heights / massing.

  3. #78
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    From CPC [pdf] (40 + pages of FUN ):

    FINAL SCOPE OF WORK TO PREPARE A DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR THE PROPOSED DOMINO SUGAR REZONING

    Images: (1) Site Plan; (2) West Elevation; (3) East Elevation

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  4. #79

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    The plan shows four culs-de-sac. What are those for? How will they be used? Are they merely drop-offs?

  5. #80
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    No doubt access for FDNY should the need arise. And possibly entry points to underground parking facilities / loading docks for the different blocks.

    For this site I'm in favor of not having a roadway between the buildings and the river. North Battery Park City development has such a roadway connecting the blocks at the west edge between buildings and the park -- it's basically a loop that is little used and not all that necessary.

  6. #81
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    Big Plans for Old Sugar Refinery Face Review

    NY TIMES
    By CHARLES V. BAGLI
    January 5, 2010

    In 2004, the Domino Sugar refinery that occupied five blocks along the Brooklyn waterfront in Williamsburg for more than 150 years shut down, joining the neighboring brick factories as remnants of the area’s industrial past.

    Now a developer is beginning a public review of a proposal to turn the vacant 11-acre industrial site into a $1.5 billion residential complex, reusing the refinery and installing the historic, 40-foot-tall Domino Sugar sign (now on a separate building) on top. There would be 2,200 apartments in all. The developer also plans to build a waterfront esplanade and a set of new glass and brick buildings that would range from 6 to 40 stories.

    “We saw this as an opportunity to create what is best in New York: a mixed-income community, with a lot of affordable housing and some pretty interesting architecture, on a waterfront that’s been closed to the public for 150 years,” said the developer, Michael D. Lappin, chief executive of the Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit group, and CPC Resources, its for-profit subsidiary.

    An unusually large percentage of the apartments, 30 percent, or 660 units, would be set aside for low- and moderate-income families and distributed throughout the project. (Generally, development projects promise to dedicate 20 percent of their units for such housing.)

    The plan might sound a little ambitious, given the recession. And the project still faces some criticism from community advocates who say the project may be too densely packed.

    The city’s land-use review for the project started Monday at the City Planning Commission with a public hearing and the certification of the developer’s proposal. Over the next seven months, various governmental entities — from the local community board to the City Council — will weigh in on the plans.

    In the years since the last sugar cubes were packed into cartons at the refinery, the neighborhood has been the center of the residential building boom and then the real estate downturn. More than one-fifth of the 500 projects stalled in New York City are in Williamsburg.

    But like a few other developers, Mr. Lappin said he had adopted a slow, multiphased approach. It will take nearly a year to get city approval; once that is secured, only the first building will immediately go up — on the east side of Kent Avenue, between South Third and South Fourth Streets. The rest will follow on the waterfront parcel, with construction to be completed in 2021.

    Although the market is inundated with luxury housing, Mr. Lappin said, there was a continuing need for housing for teachers, construction workers, clerks and low-income families. Community Preservation Corporation, a lending consortium of banks and insurance companies, has financed $7.2 billion in mostly affordable housing in its 35-year existence.

    Mr. Lappin’s company and his partners have already spent more than $125 million on the land, environmental assessments, architects and plans. The architect Rafael Vińoly designed the transformation plan for what is known as the New Domino, while Beyer Blinder Belle, the architectural firm, drew up the plan to convert the 12-story refinery building, which was declared a landmark in 2007, into 241 apartments, with shops, a community center and a multilevel rooftop structure that would rise as high as four stories.

    The original plan was to sell condominiums on the site and use the profit to subsidize the low- and moderate-income units. That may still happen, but Mr. Lappin acknowledged that the current condo market was soft.

    Peter Gillespie, executive director of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in Williamsburg, credited the developer with a well-designed plan, nice open space and the inclusion of a high percentage of apartments for low- and moderate-income residents. But, he added, “there’s a concern about the size and scale of the buildings. There’s greater density here than other developers have gotten.”

    Christopher Olechowski, chairman of Community Board 1, which includes the Domino site, agreed. “It’s a trade-off,” he said. “They will have to make some really strong arguments about affordable housing versus density and height. It’s not going to be an easy sell.”

    Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

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    The Domino does not fall as city begins review of $1.2B project

    By Andy Campbell

    The $1.2-billion redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar factory — which calls for several skyscrapers surrounding a historic refinery building with a glass-walled penthouse along the Williamsburg waterfront — moved forward on Monday, as city officials deemed it ready to enter the eight-month public review phase.

    The “certification” of the project by the Department of City Planning starts a process that involves public hearings and votes by the community board, the borough president, the City Planning Commission and the City Council — all of which are expected to back a rezoning from manufacturing to residential to allow Community Preservation Corporation to build a 2,200-unit waterfront complex with a higher rate of affordable housing than other luxury developments nearby on the waterfront gold coast.

    “This is a spectacular milestone,” said Susan Pollock, senior vice president of Community Preservation Corporation, which bought the site just north of the Williamsburg Bridge in 2004 after Domino shut down operations. “We’ve worked very hard to get to this point. We can’t find opposition because we’ve worked so well with advocacy groups and answered their concerns.”

    Pollock is exaggerating, as there are some dissenters. Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Williamsburg) has long been skeptical of multiple 30- and 40-story towers on the waterfront, and reiterated that he did not support the project because CPC never opened its books for him.

    Others question whether there will ever again be a market for 1,600 units of luxury housing in a neighborhood with a glut of them.

    But Lentol and others’ nay-saying fell on ears that also heard Pollock’s promise that 30 percent of the complex’s units, or 660, would be set aside as below-market-rate housing, or roughly 220 units more than required by current zoning. The mixed-use project will also include four acres of publicly accessible recreation space, 274,000 square feet of retail space, and a waterfront esplanade.

    “Hopefully, that will carry the day,” she said.

    CPC’s affordable housing promises are also more generous than other developers because the rental units are pegged to lower incomes than in other projects. Under the current proposal, 100 rentals are reserved for families making just $21,000 per year, 330 rentals for families making up to $40,000 per year, 100-rentals for seniors who earn less than half of the area’s median income, and 130 for-sale units for families making up to $90,000 per year.

    The heavily subsidized project will be built in six phases. The first, at the refinery’s former parking lot on Kent Avenue between S. Third and Fourth streets, would consist of 300 units — 50 percent of them affordable — to begin construction in early 2011. That site does not have waterfront views.

    The historic refinery building — actually three landmarked structures that all played a role in the sugar-making process — would be redeveloped into 241 units and a large community facility. The 11-story building would be topped with a three- to four-story glass penthouse to “assist in meeting the project’s goals and objectives” — legal jargon for allowing CPC to make some money on the fanciest units so that some is left over for the less profitable portion of the development.

    One controversy over the preservation of the sugar company’s iconic “Domino” sign was solved last year, when the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle reconfigured the glass addition to the refinery complex to include the sign.

    CPC needs a rezoning because the Domino site was not included in the 2005 Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront rezoning because when that change was being formulated, the Domino plant was still in use, according to the project’s environmental impact statement. The fact that the site is still zoned as manufacturing saved CPC on land acquisition costs, but now requires the rigors of a full (and expensive) public review. The company has spent considerably on public relations and lobbying.

    The project’s eight-month review process, called the Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure, will now move to Community Board 1, which will discuss the proposal in February.

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories...s_forward.html

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    New Domino Critics Say Beware All That Affordable Housing

    February 22, 2010, by Joey

    To the surprise of some Williamsburg waterfront watchers, the New Domino plan for the old sugar refinery hasn't been buried beneath a North Brooklyn oil slick. In fact, the proposed housing complex has even showed signs of life, economy be damned. It may still be decades before all that industry is replaced with 2,000 apartments, but the rumblings near the Williamsburg Bridge may soon trigger an eruption regarding that age-old hot topic: affordable housing. About 30% of the units in New Domino are supposed to meet the criteria for affordable housing, and one potential plan to finance their construction with the proceeds from condo sales (the market-rate units would be built first) was not being met with much cheer down in South Williamsburg. The issue is now the subject of some fliers being placed on car windshields in the 'hood alleging that Domino's developers aren't bound to their affordable housing pledges, and the luxury units would actually wind up displacing 20,000 residents. What can we say? Our Spanish is terrific! Just kidding, here's the English version:

    New Domino coverage [Curbed]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2010/02/2...using.php#more

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    A big Domi-NO from CB1 panel

    By Andy Campbell

    The Community Board 1 Land Use Committee voted against the $1.2-billion redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar factory on Tuesday night, the first public rejection of the project as it enters the eight-month review process for a rezoning along the Williamsburg waterfront that would allow a multiple-skyscraper project that is larger than the law currently allows.

    The 5-3 vote is merely a suggestion to the full community board, whose vote on March 9 is itself merely advisory to Borough President Markowitz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council, all of which have a say on the proposal.

    But the rejection was a stumble for the Community Preservation Corporation, which seeks to rezone the old refinery site from manufacturing to residential in order to build a 2,200-unit waterfront complex with multiple skyscrapers.

    In exchange, the developers promise publicly accessible waterfront open space and a far higher-than-required rate of affordable housing.

    But even that affordable housing became a source of controversy, as board members complained that CPC has only committed to maintaining the below-market-rate rents for 15 years at the site. Other panelists complained that there is limited public transportation to the area, whose population is expected to boom.

    “The bottom line is, we need proof that this is really needed,” said committee Chairman Ward Dennis. “We’re all for affordable housing, but we want permanent affordability — it’s a must for something we’ll sign off on.”

    CPC executives said that the company is adamant about its offer of an unusually high 30-percent below-market-rate housing, or 660 units, but no official commitments were made to the permanence of those units.

    Others attacked the transparency of the project, maintaining that too many questions have been left unanswered. CPC representatives did say that they are willing to change their heavily subsidized, six-phase project if the system of housing and retail space in the first site — the refinery’s former parking lot on Kent Avenue between South Third and South Fourth streets — doesn’t work as planned.

    “The density of this project is required in order to make the entire program work,” said Susan Pollock, senior vice president of the development company, which bought the site just north of the Williamsburg Bridge in 2004 after Domino shut down operations.

    “The [parking lot] site is so dense because we chose not to build on the [four acres] of open, public space that this community needs.”

    But the developer’s promises to work on concerns didn’t faze the committee, which spent nearly three hours discussing changes that it wants — changes that would buffer the neighborhood’s ability to absorb the influx of people and transportation to the area.

    The panel’s rejection will move to the full community board on March 9, and then to Markowitz, who will hold his own public hearing. It’s unclear whether those entities will echo the committee’s apparent disdain for the project.

    It is typical in large land-use projects for local community boards to object on specific, parochial issues such as transportation or density, only to have those issues be ignored by the larger jurisdictions that have different interests.

    One potential “adverse impact” of the new Domino not mentioned at the meeting — but outlined in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement — will fall on schools within a half mile of the site.

    Two public schools — an elementary school and a middle school, both on North Fifth Street — are near or above capacity already, and the impact statement notes that these and other schools would see an influx of new students if the Domino plant is fully built out.

    The CPC offers several solutions, mostly pertaining to changes within the school district: shift the catchment areas within the school district, move students to schools with available capacity, create new satellite facilities in other schools or construct new schools all together.

    In the end, the members of the land-use committee who voted against the Domino project expressed frustration at the hearing, which took place at the Capital One Bank building in Greenpoint.

    “We should just shoot ourselves right now,” said board member Heather Roslund, an opponent. “If this is the future of New York City, it’s just sad.”

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories...domino_no.html

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    Domino affordable housing would be permanent, developers say

    By Sarah Ryley

    The developers of the Domino Sugar Refinery site on the Williamsburg waterfront responded to one of the project's main criticisms -- that its 660 affordable apartments would become market-rate after 15 years -- by saying today that housing would permanently stay affordable.

    Susan Pollock, senior vice president of project developer CPC Resources, said the about-face came after realizing the rezoning for Williamsburg and Greenpoint passed in 2005 required waterfront developers to include permanent, not temporary, affordable housing in their projects in order to receive a density bonus.

    Although the five-block Domino site, once the world's largest sugar refinery, was not included in that rezoning, Pollock said they promised to follow those rules for the project's 660 affordable apartments, out of 2,200 condos and rental units spread throughout six buildings that would be constructed over a 10-year period.

    Additionally, the developers had already planned to include a higher percentage of affordable apartments then dictated in that rezoning -- 30 percent, as opposed to 20 percent.

    "I think that's great news. There's so many big parts to this rezoning, but that was certainly a very important piece of it," said Ward Dennis, who heads the local community board's land use committee and has pushed to modify the project.

    The developers, CPC Resources and the Katan Group, bought the site for $55.8 million in 2004 after sugar refining operations closed down. Plans for the site were revealed two years later, but were delayed when the city's Landmark Preservation Commission forced the developers in 2007 to preserve the main 12-story brick refinery, as well as the iconic yellow "Domino Sugar."

    Last week, the $1.2 billion project finally began its eight-month public review process with a rejection from the community board's land use subcommittee, mainly due to concerns over its temporary affordability, density and the strain it would place on area infrastructure already heavily taxed by the recent development boom.

    "People are starting to comprehend the realities of what all the past rezonings have done in terms of the tax on infrastructure and the like," said Dennis, who abstained from voting last week. He said he would wait to see how the developers respond to all of the board's concerns before deciding on his vote.

    The project will go before the full community board March 8. Although its vote is only an advisory opinion, during the last rezoning the board successfully pushed for increased affordability requirements on the waterfront and smaller density inland.

    Phil DePaolo, a local activist who opposes the project, was not moved by the promise of permanent affordable housing, mainly because the income limits for 85 percent of those apartments are higher than the average annual income of a household currently living in South Williamsburg, which is $35,000 for a family of four.

    Of the 660 below-market apartments, only 15 percent are rentals set aside for an income equivalent to a family of four earning up to $23,040. Half would be rentals set aside for a household income equivalent to a family of four earning up to $46,080; 20 percent would be for sale to those earning an income equivalent to a family of four earning up to $99,840; and 15 percent would be rentals for seniors with incomes up to $38,400.

    Additionally, he said the project's 1,540 market-rate apartments would put upward pricing pressure on the entire neighborhood since rents and for-sale prices are determined by nearby comparables.

    "Not only does it change the landscape as far as gentrifying the neighborhood, but it also changes the commercial corridor," DePaolo said. "It gets more upscale with bars and restaurants. You walk down Bedford Avenue on the Southside now and it's party central."

    Pollock said the density of market-rate units is necessary to make the whole project financially feasible, especially considering the preservation requirements.

    "The refinery is an incredibly expensive undertaking. No other developer on the waterfront is preserving any historical property on the site," said Pollock, adding that its preservation added "tens of millions of dollars" to the cost of the project.

    Its brick facade "is really like a wrapping paper for sugar refining equipment. And so there are huge vats, centrifuges, ovens that rise many stories throughout the building. And there are catwalks around them so the workers can get to the equipment," Pollock said.

    "It's nothing you can use, you have to take it apart very carefully because the equipment is so massive and so much a part of the structure of the building that, if you take the equipment down, the walls may collapse. So you have to brace all the walls as you're doing the work, and cut up the machinery very carefully, and lift it up from the roof in pieces," she said.

    "It's phenomenally expensive," Pollock said.

    http://therealdeal.com/newyork/artic...an-pollock-say

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    Invaders, indeed. Yuck .


    New Domino Doesn't Come in Peace, Critics Say

    March 2, 2010, by Joey

    There's a tradition of turning renderings (official ones or DIY, like the above) of Williamsburg's massive New Domino project into something infinitely more terrifying (remember Attack of the Giant Pez?), and here's the latest! It's from the gang at by-encore, apparently no fans of the makeover of the old sugar refinery. To be fair, the Williamsburg waterfront has been well on its way to becoming a sci-fi freak show for years now.



    New Domino coverage [Curbed]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2010/03/0...s_say.php#more

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    The design evokes the Westin on 42nd Street for me.

  13. #88

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    It looks very amateurish/puerile/inelegant. They should design something that matches the industrial austerity of the factory.

  14. #89

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    It reminds me of Roosevelt Island.

  15. #90

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    Do we know that's the official render? I haven't seen it anywhere else, and it doesn't look entirely consistent with the various renders we have seen -- it looks like those previous renders mixed with the new Intercontinental and turned into a cartoon. Is it not possible that a gang of some sort of rogue artists plastering up advocacy posters on street poles came up with their own, exaggerated design?

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