Monday, June 04, 2007

Domino #2: Is Landmarking Now Likely?

Domino Building

Could the stars be aligning to save several of the historic buildings of the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg? Yes. And, no. On the "yes" side, NY1 reported on Sunday that Community Preservation Corporation Resources, which will develop the property with controversial developer Isaac Katan, supports the landmark designation of "the historic refinery building." On the "no" side, preservations are looking for a broader designation, including a 1883 building on Kent Avenue adjacent to Williamsburg Bridge known as the Adant House that is much admired by fans of historic industrial architecture. (That is the building pictured above. It is currently not slated for landmarking.) The developer is likely to see rezoning for the site that would allow the development of up to 2,000 units of housing on the site.

Those familiar with plans being prepared for the site by CPC and Mr. Katan say that it will include numerous highrises.

NY1 reported:
The project manager for the 11.5-acre site says they are prepared to include the building in their plans for the site.

"We've worked a plan around it that we hope meets all the goals that we are trying to achieve, the primary one being affordable housing,” said project manager Susan Pollock. “But we also are concerned about open space and accessibility to the water.”

The site would also feature market-rate housing and retail, and the famous Domino sign would be integrated into the new development.

We support the landmark designation of the historic refinery building as a centerpiece of the New Domino,” said Pollock in a statement. “It will be a living and distinctive link between the new culturally and economically diverse waterfront community and its industrial past.”

But the firm does not see the need to save other buildings on the site.

"We think most of it is impossible to be used adaptively for any economically feasible benefit," said Pollock.
Based on what GL has heard, the new plan is likely to leave a variety of interests both satisfied and disappointed. Affordable housing advocates may want to see more affordable housing. Preservationists will seek to protect additional structures. Opponents of waterfront highrises will be faced with a number of 30-40 story waterfront towers. Renderings are said to be coming.

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