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]
· Domino: The Big Picture [WPA]
· Landmarking, Progress Details on Burg's 'New Domino' [Curbed]