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Alternative Domino Plan Proposes Art Space, Not Apartments

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There's a very vocal group of North Brooklyn residents that oppose Two Trees' plans to redevelop the Domino Sugary Factory, and last week, they descended on a public meeting to make their opinions heard. Now, because everyone loves pretty renderings, they've taken the next step and enlisted Holm Architecture Office to draw up a proposal that adaptively reuses the factory buildings. Instead of demolishing many of the decrepit structures to build office space, community amenities, and 2,220 apartments, HAO's proposal, first shared on Arch Daily, calls for saving the buildings on the site and revamping them into a "world-class cultural destination" filled with performance space, art galleries, a hotel, education centers, public parks, and affordable housing.

HAO's proposal is a much smaller scale than that put forth by SHoP Architects for Two Trees. SHoP's plan features tall, slender towers rising some 600-feet, while the tallest building in HAO's plan is the renovated refinery. The plan adapts to the smaller scale of the surrounding neighborhood and draws inspiration from the Tate Modern in London and 798 Art District in Beijing, both of which adaptively reuse old industrial buildings.

But how feasible is it to restore every building? Many of the structures are completely falling apart, and it would be incredibly expensive to save them. Two Trees plans to turn the refinery building into offices, even though rehabilitating the building will cost at least $50 million. It has to be completely gutted, so the new structure will essentially be a building within the old building's shell. Other pieces from the factories, like old equipment, will be incorporated into the plan's waterfront "artifact walk."

HAO's plan will certainly seem attractive to anyone who hates to see pieces of old New York disappear, but Two Trees Director of Special Projects David Lombino says the the "fantasy" plan is merely a distraction from the options the community actually has. "We like rubber ducks as much as anyone, but this is not a genuine alternative and we are not looking for proposals for our property," said Lombino in a statement emailed to Curbed. "We are committed to a real dialogue with the community, which has been ongoing for a full year, about affordable housing, open space, jobs and local retail, and this fantasy is just distracting from the actual choice in front of this community: the existing plan or our new plan."
· HAO Makes Counter-Proposal To Save Sugar Factory from Development in Brooklyn [Arch Daily]
· Save Domino [official]
· Holm Architecture Office [official]
· Two Trees' SHoP-Designed Domino Development, REVEALED! [Curbed]
· All Domino coverage [Curbed]