Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Domino #2: Questions About the "New Domino"

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Without question, the proposed "New Domino" development that was formally rolled out to the press at an on-site event last week and which is has its first hearings today in from of the City Planning Commission, would be a huge project. It would include at least 2,200 residential units and several buildings of 30 and 40 stories. It would create serious transportation challenges and significant new density in the neighborhood, among other things. Overall, the $1.3 billion development would take at least eight years to build and be one of the most significant projects on the entire North Brooklyn waterfront. For anything that comes close (at least, in terms of announced projects) one needs to look at the Queens West project in Long Island City.

We say this in order to say that Norman Oder dug deep into the Domino project on Atlantic Yards Report yesterday, drawing parallels between the New Domino and Atlantic Yards. Mr. Oder, was particularly taken by the developer's spin on the project (which emphasized affordable housing, open space and historic preservation) and flipped it on its head:
The press release (not online) issued last week sure sounded good:
Plans for the New Domino Set Goal of 30% of Units for Affordable Housing in Mixed-Income Community on the Brooklyn Waterfront
Former Industrial Site Will Mirror the City’s Economic and Cultural Diversity and Preserve Historic Architecture in Williamsburg

An equally skewed, though likely not inaccurate, press release might have stated:
Plans for the New Domino Include 1540 Million-Dollar Condos on Brooklyn’s Waterfront
Four Tall Towers, Minimal Historic Preservation Needed To Achieve Profits for Much-Criticized Silent Partner; Significant Government Subsidies and Rezoning Sought
Mr. Oder's examination of the proposal is very, very long, but anyone interested in gaining a real sense of the development and its impact ought to read it. For instance, he points out that the developers will be seeking to upzone land across Kent Avenue from the main plant site, in addition to upzoning the waterfront site itself. He also notes that the developers spent $400,000 on lobbying the Department of City Planning in 2005 and 2006. The Department is holding "Scoping" hearings today from 2PM-5PM and from 6PM-8:45PM

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