During our conversation with Two Trees managing director Asher Abehsera on the success of the firm’s massive Mercedes House project, we turned briefly to the topic of the Domino sugar refinery in Williamsburg.
As we previously reported, Two Trees is rethinking the entire Domino project, including the controversial move of how much affordable housing to include. We asked Mr. Abeshsera how things are progressing. According to him, the planning process is just getting under way.
Exactly two years ago tomorrow, the City Council approved a sweeping $1.4 billion redevelopment plan for the Domino Sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront. One of the biggest concerns at the time (of which there were many) was that the grand promise made by developer CPC Resources to make 30 percent of the project’s 2,200 units would never be realized.
Nowhere in the zoning resolution was this mandated, even though it was the marquee feature of the 11-acre development, along with promises of waterfront access, top-notch open space and a school. The developer could build no affordable housing, though this would mean a smaller project, or use the city’s inclusionary housing program to gain a bonus for bigger buildings in exchange for a promise to make 20 percent of any units affordable. Anything beyond that was a promise, one even CPC Resources did not have to keep. The firm had signed a memorandum of understanding saying it would follow through on this promise, but in no why was it legally binding.
That is why when it was announced last week that Jed Walentas and his Two Trees development company is in contract the Domino site for about $180 million (three-times what CPC had paid for it in 2004, but also less an arduous and contentious public approval process), there were widespread concerns that Mr. Walentas would not live up to the promises of his predecessors. In a recent interview, the developer admitted as much.
“Basically, that analysis is correct,” Mr. Walentas told The Observer.
on the waterfront
So much for those other bidders.
Two Trees has indeed taken over the sprawling Domino Sugar site in South Williamsburg, a deal said to be worth $160 million. CPC Resources, the for-profit arm of non-profit builders CPC that had been developing the site since 2006, announced the deal closed this evening.
“CPCR’s goal for Domino Sugar has always been to bring to the project a well established, reputable real estate company that knows New York and is committed to building neighborhoods and creating communities,” CPC’s President & CEO Rafael Cestero said in a release. “Two Trees is just that, and this deal is a great opportunity to realize our vision for Domino as a vibrant, mixed-income, mixed-use waterfront community and to maximize the economic benefit to CPCR and our partners.”
After a couple of weeks of required paper shuffling following a key committee vote, the full City Council today gave final approval for the
The Post‘s Rich Calder has a piece following up on the Domino Sugar deal in Brooklyn, in which developer CPC Resources won the approval to build 2,200 apartments by the Williamsburg waterfront, promising at the time to build 30 percent of them at below-market rates. This promise was absolutely integral to the City Council’s Read More
Mayor Bloomberg chimed in on the fight over the housing development planned for the former Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg. His prediction: Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Vito Lopez will end up supporting the project.
Mr. Lopez, a key figure in the debate over Domino and chairman of the Assembly’s housing committee, is opposed to the Read More
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Monday, a large group of Brooklynites sporting uniform yellow T-shirts collected on the steps of City Hall for a rally. As a few stragglers joined it, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, standing at the base of the group, aside U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez, gushed about the $1.2 billion housing development Read More
The old Domino Sugar plant has an icy spot on the Williamsburg waterfront, staring across lead-gray waters to the Manhattan shoreline. Since its contentious landmark battle concluded last summer, it’s been in something of a freeze; the blog chatter has gone quiet.
But it’s a false kind of chill. The debate over Read More