Here she is — the scaled-down, more contextually appropriate design for the New Domino residential development, which got the official stamp of approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission this morning.
Unlike the former, more controversial plan, this one preserves the iconic Domino Sugar sign, better hides the mechanicals, and adds fewer floors on top of the landmarked old factory.
The New Domino is a mixed-use development, slated to have 2,200 residential units, 30 percent of which are supposed to be affordable, along with approximately 220,000 square feet of new retail, commercial and community cultural facility space.
But Michael Lappin, the CEO of CPC Resources, which is developing the project with the Katan group, warned that the 20,000-square-foot reduction in size may endanger some of those affordable units:
“The new design incorporates many of the suggestions of Landmarks commissioners, and we believe it reflects the highest quality of thoughtful, creative restoration as interpreted by our preservation architects, Beyer Blinder Belle," Mr. Lappin said. "The reduction in size translates into a loss of more than 20,000 square feet of residential space or over 20 apartments. This presents an economic challenge that we must meet to fulfill our firm commitment to develop 660 affordable housing units.”
Here’s the full release, below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Refinery LLC Presents New Design for Industrial Style Rooftop Addition to Landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery Building
New plan creates a three- and four-floor addition with bulkheads hidden from view
Domino Sign will be incorporated in new design and moved to roof of the Refinery Building
New York, June 24, 2008 — Refinery LLC, developer of The New Domino, today presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission a new design for an industrial style rooftop addition to the landmarked Refinery Building. The Refinery is the centerpiece of the planned 11.2-acre, 2,200 unit mixed-income residential community on the Brooklyn waterfront.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the new plan at its meeting this morning.
The new design would also restore and preserve the 40-foot-tall Domino Sugar sign, an iconic fixture on the Williamsburg skyline since the 1960s, moving it to a prominent and permanent location on the Refinery Building roof.
Michael Lappin, President and CEO of CPC Resources, Inc., managing partner of Refinery LLC, said, “The new design is distinctive, contextual and responsive. It has an industrial feel, creatively reflecting the building’s history and character. The design is also lower in height–a split level three and four stories instead of five–with formerly protruding bulkheads now mainly contained within the structure, significantly concealed from view. The chutes that connected the Refinery to other structures are also recalled. Last, but certainly not least, we are also saving and restoring the iconic Domino Sugar sign, placing it on the Refinery rooftop where it will remain for all to see.”
He added, “The new design incorporates many of the suggestions of Landmarks commissioners, and we believe it reflects the highest quality of thoughtful, creative restoration as interpreted by our preservation architects, Beyer Blinder Belle. The reduction in size translates into a loss of more than 20,000 square feet of residential space or over 20 apartments. This presents an economic challenge that we must meet to fulfill our firm commitment to develop 660 affordable housing units.”
The developer must receive approval from the Commission, in the form of a Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A), before any external changes or additions can be made to the Refinery, which was officially designated as a New York City landmark in September 2007.
The split-level addition pares down both the addition’s height and footprint. Its “ad hoc” assemblage of glass and steel container-like sections rises to four stories in one section and three stories in an adjoining section.
The new design expresses the addition’s structural steel framework, and exhibits a less expansive area of glass than the prior five-story window wall. Utility bulkheads containing climate control equipment, elevator “head houses” and other mechanical equipment will now be mostly hidden from view, sunken into the addition.
The cantilevered steel balconies on the Refinery’s south elevation evoke the attachment points of the two large chutes connecting the Refinery with the plant’s bin structure. The chutes moved sugar from the Refinery to the bin structure.
"The building was essentially a shell to cover an evolving manufacturing process – and was poked and pierced to accommodate new sugar processing technology as it developed over time. But it is also a monumental and stately witness, a compelling reminder of our industrial heritage and of the workers who labored there,” Mr. Lappin said.
Also, ground floor retail spaces at the Refinery will retain their arched entranceways, with mullions added to the display windows to echo the building’s industrial character.
The Domino Sugar Sign
A highlight of the revised plan is the developer’s solution for incorporating the Domino Sugar sign – a 40-foot tall artifact of the former sugar refining plant.
Its classic sheet metal letters spell out “Domino Sugar” in the brand’s signature yellow hue. Facing Manhattan and westward, it was visible for miles with clear sight lines from across the East River.
Over the decades, the sign fell into disrepair and it was abandoned in place when the plant closed in 2004.
Plans presented to the commission today show the refurbished sign mounted on a freestanding steel superstructure atop the Refinery’s rooftop addition.
Mr. Lappin said, “Although the sign was not designated as part of the landmark, we believe that The New Domino would not be complete without it. We’re proud to have the sign as our signature element.”
The New Domino
The New Domino is a proposed mixed income community on the East River just north of the Williamsburg Bridge on the site of the former Domino Sugar plant. It will comprise approximately 2,200 residential units along with approximately 220,000 square feet of new retail, commercial and community cultural facility space. CPC Resources, Inc., (CPCR) managing partner in Refinery LLC, will allocate 30 percent of the residential units for affordable housing, a total of 660 units.
Mr. Lappin said, “This is a plan to create a community that reflects the best of New York’s economic and cultural diversity, consistent with the City’s Williamsburg-Greenpoint rezoning initiative, that is architecturally dazzling.”
He added, “We have also pledged to provide both a higher perc
entage of affordable units and to provide them to households at an income level lower than is required in the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Rezoning District. Fully 30 percent of the units created will be affordable to a range of incomes beginning at approximately $23,000.”
CPC and CPC Resources, Inc.
CPC Resources, Inc. (CPCR) is the for-profit development subsidiary of The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC). It shares the same mission of its parent to improve communities and preserve and create affordable housing throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. One of the largest creators of affordable housing in the nation, CPC has financed more than $7 billion for approximately 150,000 units of housing since its founding in 1974. In Brooklyn, CPC has invested more than $1.8 billion, with $200 million of that amount in Williamsburg alone. CPC has built or renovated more than 1,600 low-, moderate- and middle-income apartments in Williamsburg.
Refinery LLC is a partnership between CPCR and the Katan Group. The partnership purchased the site four years ago after the long-term owners ceased operations. CPCR is the managing partner.