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Thread: Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg

  1. #16

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    dose any one have any insider info on how much they paid for this copmplex?????????????

  2. #17
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Where Sugar Once Ruled, a Face-Off Over the Future


    http://www.nyc-architecture.com/WBG/wbg025.htm

    NY TIMES
    By JAKE MOONEY
    October 1, 2006

    Williamsburg

    The bright yellow Domino Sugar sign next to the Williamsburg Bridge is among the most distinctive features of the Brooklyn waterfront.

    Now, the sign may point the way to the borough’s next big historic preservation fight.

    Last month, the Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg formally asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider the old sugar factory for landmark status.

    A plan for a project combining market-rate and low-income housing at the site is being drafted by the partnership that bought the property shortly after the factory closed in 2004. It consists of the Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit organization, and Isaac Katan, a private developer.

    The preservationists, supported by the local City Council member, David Yassky, want any development to conform with the factory, a hulking brick Romanesque Revival structure that dates to the late 19th century and recalls an era when New York was the nation’s leading sugar producer.

    Mr. Yassky angered local preservationists last year by helping to override the landmark designation of a nearby warehouse. The Domino plant, he said, is more significant. “It’s an icon,” he said. “It’s a landmark in the popular sense of the word. When I talk to people in Queens or Manhattan about that part of my district, I say it’s right by the Domino Sugar factory, and they know where that is.”

    Ironically, Alice Rich, a member of the waterfront alliance, said her group’s efforts had benefited from the rapid development that followed the comprehensive rezoning of the local waterfront in May 2005. “People,” she said, “can see what’s disappearing.”

    The developers, who have yet to unveil concrete plans, warn that too much preservation could jeopardize their project and the construction in the area of low-income housing.

    “We certainly support preservation,” said Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for the property’s owners. But he added, “Our priority is affordable housing, and we want to achieve a balanced plan.”

    The Rev. Jim O’Shea, president of Churches United for Fair Housing, made a similar point. “If you look at it in human terms,” he said, “how many families do you want to knock out of housing in the community, at what price, and what are you preserving?”

    There may be room for compromise. Mary Habstritt, president of the Roebling chapter of the national Society for Industrial Archeology, said that she would like to see more kept intact than just the distinctive Domino sign. Some of the old factory’s equipment, if preserved, could tell the story of the refining industry that once thrived along the waterfront, she said.

    But she, along with Mr. Yassky and Ms. Rich, says that preservation and housing are not incompatible. “There have been lots of industrial buildings put to other uses, including residential,” Ms. Habstritt said. “It just demands creativity and openmindedness.”

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  3. #18

    Default a landmark - gimme a break

    Landmarking should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances. When you landmark something, you're basically taking away property rights from the onwer. Is it really that hard to find a similar piece of architecture on the east coast or even in NYC? No - it isn't.

    I think it should be made more difficult to stop development based on landmarking if people are serious about doing this.

  4. #19
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    In San Francisco a 19th Century waterfront industrial complex was to be torn down to build an apartment building, but some saw a better idea.

    In 1963 architects were hired, according to wikipedia, "to convert the square and its historic brick structures to an integrated restaurant and retail complex, the first major adaptive re-use project in the United States." The complex opened to the public in 1964: Ghirardelli Square ...




  5. #20
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    The main brick structure at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg takes up ~ 1/2 of the Domino site ( MAP attached )...



    www.shalomnewyork.com/gallery



    www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/.../index.htm

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Domino Sugar_01b_Google.JPG 
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ID:	2540  

  6. #21

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    The main brick structure would probably make some awesome lofts, with some room for a couple of modern towers.

    But really, if it's torn down, I won't be that sad. Before the industry came, there were farms. Are there any remnants of that? Does anyone care? However, with some creativity, this can be an awesome project incorporating historic elements. It's just that creativity is low these days around here.

  7. #22
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    There actually are some old farmhouses that have survived in Brooklyn and Queens. I think a lot of people care, but before the destruction of Penn Station preservationists didn't have any clout in our country. The industrial past of Brooklyn should definitely be preserved. This building - and the civil war-era buildings Ikea tore down for it's waterfront parking lot - add to the city - and historical buildings add value for property owners.

    Ask Lofter about preservation and Soho for more and better arguments.

  8. #23

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    It should have been landmarked years ago. It's not fair to the developer that he bought it, and then after the fact, has to deal with landmark restrictions. He'll still be able to create housing, but it will likely cost him more money.

    It's like buying a lot in the country wanting to build a house. Then a town designates your land as 90% preserved wilderness, adding even more cost to what you just paid a bundle for. It's unfair.

  9. #24
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Not too much farming right along the East River in Williamsburg. Back in colonial days almost anyone who did farm in that area was pushed further inland by the Brits.

    Just south of where the Williamsburg Bridge stands was Wallabout Bay (now site of the Brooklyn Navy Yards):



    There on the Brooklyn shore once stood the Wallabout Market, once the second largest market in the world ...





    Sugar had been transported to the Brooklyn area from the Caribbean since colonial times.

    In the 1690s Captain William Kidd -- later wooed into the pirate life -- supposedly found the Williamsburg shore to the north of Wallabout Bay the perfect spot to moor his vessel between his "commercial" ventures.





    Commerce has been the story there for the better part of 200 years ...
    FAST FORWARD: ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YEARS -- It's the early 1800's and humans have congregated in unprecedented densities in Manhattan. Richard Woodhill begins to offer a ferry service departing from Corlear's Hook in Manhattan. The destination: his recently purchased 13 acre parcel of land - which he named Jonathan Williams. The ferry docks at the foot of what is now N. 2nd Street in Brooklyn.
    North 2nd Street in Williamsburg is just a block north of the Domino site.

    Right in the area shown here in 1986:


    Photo: Joyce George

    One hundred years ago ferry operators lobbied against the building of the Williamsburg Bridge, but they lost that fight.


    Crossing Brooklyn Ferry (Walt Whitman) :
    FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face;
    Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face.

    Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
    On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose;
    And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

    The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day;
    The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme—myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:
    The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;
    The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and earings — on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;
    The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away;The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
    The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

    Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
    Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
    Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
    Others will see the islands large and small;
    Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high,
    A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
    Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide ...
    ***
    Last edited by lofter1; October 2nd, 2006 at 02:37 PM.

  10. #25
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    This buyer knew what they were getting into - and no doubt will turn a profit either way. I wouldn't feel bad for them. Your country example is unfair...but mostly unlikely. Historical preservation is not a random, sudden process.
    Last edited by ryan; October 2nd, 2006 at 03:32 PM.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117 View Post

    It should have been landmarked years ago.
    You're right, but it wasn't. Time to fix that.

    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117 View Post

    It's not fair to the developer that he bought it, and then after the fact, has to deal with landmark restrictions.
    There are Zoning restrictions on the site that currently do not allow for residential development. The developer bought the property knowing it was a gamble and that he'd have to negotiate with the city to get the re-zoning and get his plan through. The city has leverage in that negotiation. Part of the endgame is that some of the site will be landmarked. That's the world of real estate in NYC.

    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117 View Post

    It's unfair.
    Of course it's "unfair" -- it's business.

  12. #27

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    Wasn't this site included in the entire waterfront rezoning for high density residential?

  13. #28
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    Ghirardelli Square was one of my favorite stops in San Francisco. Really a great example of how we don't have to destroy our industrial past, at least not entirely.

    I wonder, though: how could a similar idea be applied here? Does Domino's make any candy?

  14. #29
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    What ... you don't like your sugar straight?



    You can even get it in a 50 lb. bag ...



    Or you might prefer the new no-spill easy-to-close packaging ...



    Or perhaps you like yours mixed ...



    Or on the go ...


  15. #30

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    and it's even in keeping with today's healthier lifestyles ...


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