on the waterfront
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.
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.”
Budding Brooklyn branding company Red Antler will be moving into a 5,200-square-foot office space in Dumbo, their second move within the neighborhood in just over a year.
55 Washington Street
Dumbo has played host to more (and classier) weddings than a Las Vegas chapel, but the neighborhood has always lacked a flower shop. At last, Gramercy Park Flower Shop will bring blossoms to one of the city’s more romantic locales. The store has taken 1,200 square feet of retail space and 1,400 Read More
55 Washington Street
Educational publisher Flocabulary is attempting to revive a legacy dormant since the days of Schoolhouse Rock, though it’s added a hip-hop inflection for a new generation. Citing influences from Debussy to De La Soul, Flocabulary was created in 2005 to teach academic content to grades 3 through 12, and Read More
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It’s perhaps fitting that physical books are finding homes in Read More
The Brooklyn Bridge really is for sale—or, at least, its renovation was recently up for bid. Named by Popular Mechanics as one of the country’s top 10 pieces of infrastructure in need of serious repair, the historic suspension bridge flunked the federal rating system’s test for structural efficiency. Last year, the city decided a makeover Read More
Cave Canem, a poetry center that cultivates the voices of young African-American poets, is expanding to four times its current space in Dumbo. The foundation, which organizes poetry workshops across the country, signed a three-year lease for 1,678 square feet at 20 Jay Street. The space will function as offices as well as public space Read More
Once upon a time, a knot of cast-iron buildings buzzed and whirred along the western edge of Brooklyn, cranking out boxes and Brillo pads, until one day a man named David Walentas turned them into condos.
As ruler of the village, which years earlier had been christened Dumbo, Mr. Walentas surrounded himself with trusted confidantes, Read More
On Oct. 9, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo, Rosanne Cash sang songs her father, Johnny, recommended she learn 36 years ago, in a concert marking the venue’s 30 years of existence. Ms. Cash also performed there in 2006. If she reappears in another three years, she will return to a venue in an entirely Read More