Last week, the New York City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve Two Trees‘ $1.5 billion Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment plan in Williamsburg. The rather controversial project calls for the transformation of the old sugar refinery site into residential towers designed by SHoP Architects, as well as communal areas and green spaces along the waterfront. One of the main areas of contention has been the amount of affordable housing available within the complex, and the proposal was at risk of falling through completely after a last minute request from Mayor Bill de Blasio for more low-cost units shortly before the Planning Commission’s vote.
Two Trees threatened to walk out, but the mayor managed to clinch the deal by granting the developer permission to build taller, 50-story towers, whereas the earlier designs called for 30- and 40- story buildings. Now that the plan has been stamped with the city’s approval, we probably won’t be seeing Holm Architecture Office’s low-rise alternative come to fruition.
The new complex will bring an additional 110,000-square-feet of permanent housing for low- and moderate-income families to the area. This equates to about 700 affordable units, which is 40 more units than what Two Trees initially agreed upon, and 260 more than the initial SHoP Architects design included. The mayor’s office is calling this a big first win for de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda.
Along with the affordable apartments, the Domino Sugar redevelopment plan includes nearly 1,600 market-rate units, a reintegrated streetscape, tech office space within the former refinery building, local retail spaces, and a new school.
The five acres of waterfront, meanwhile, will be repaved into an expansive parkland esplanade. This green space will include areas for kayak launches, a floating pool, sports fields, lawns and gardens. This public space will be connected to Williamsburg’s main streets via High Line-like elevated walkways that will double as a history museum displaying relics from the original factory.
via Arch Paper
Images © SHoP Architects