REVEALED: Massive Mixed-Use Development at Red Hook’s Revere Sugar Factory Site

March 6, 2015

The housing-design experts at Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) have hashed out a feasibility study to redevelop the Revere Sugar Factory site in Red Hook with a 1.7 million-square-foot development to include more than 900 apartments, 250,000 square feet of retail, and 400,000 square feet of parking. The six-acre site at 280 Richards Street is owned by the Joesph Sitt-led, Thor Equities, who purchased the parcel back in 2005 to the tune of $40 million, according to the New York Observer. The vacant parcel juts out 700 feet into the Erie Basin, and sits between the Ikea parking lot and the Red Hook Stores building home to Fairway Supermarket (and Michelle Williams, of course). Though MAP’s rendering date back to 2007, they have yet to be publicized, and we have the first look here.

Red Hook, Thor Equities, Joe Sitt, Brooklyn development, New York Industry, manufacturing, sugar refing, New York malls, MAP Architects, affordable housing
Image by vanshnookenraggen

In the late 1800s, New York was the center of the sugar industry, handling 77% of the country’s sugar refining capacity throughout its eight plants. Unlike the former Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg, the majority of the Revere sugar-works plant was demolished back in 2007, including its signature metal-clad dome. A lonely remaining red-brick building along Beard Street, foreseen to be incorporated into the redevelopment, was later demolished in 2009.

Since purchasing the site, Thor has envisioned a mixed-use complex of waterfront housing, loft-like offices, retail, and possibly even a marina. Any residential development on the site will require a public review and rezoning. The city is likely open to the prospect given the current housing crunch and that the site was conveniently excluded from the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone.

Red Hook, Thor Equities, Joe Sitt, Brooklyn development, New York Industry, manufacturing, sugar refiningg, New York malls, MAP Architects, affordable housing

MAP’s 1.7 million-square-foot vision provides a multi-level retail complex flanked by six residential buildings that surround a landscaped, elevated roof deck. According to the project’s webpage, “The retail space component of the project could be filled with a combination of big-box and local stores. A residential tower will rise an additional six stories above the base for a total of 12 stories and 900 units. A mix of both affordable and market-rate units are proposed.” MAP also gives a nod to the old sugar plant with a domed atrium serving as the entrance to a possible big-box store (BJ’s?).

Revere Sugar Factory, Thor Equities, Brooklyn development, MAP Architects,

Like many of Brooklyn’s shore-line master plans, a publicly accessible waterfront esplanade wraps the project’s perimeter. Thor Equities’ webpage for the project, aimed to market the retail space, depicts a sleeker, alternate vision of the project designed by FXFowle Architects. Like the images uncovered back in 2009, a single rendering shows a multi-level mall, similar in configuration to East River Plaza in East Harlem, bisected by an open-air atrium leading to a dramatic staircase towards the waterfront.

Red Hook, Thor Equities, Joe Sitt, Brooklyn development, New York Industry, manufacturing, sugar refining, New York malls, MAP Architects, affordable housing
The Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse proposal

Whether MAP’s study will resemble the final realization of the project is unknown. The site has already had its fair share of failed prospects in the past decade. Back in 2010 rumors surfaced that a potential mega-dormitory would be built; in 2012 the site was eyed as a basketball training facility for the Brooklyn Nets; and in 2004, Baltimore-based Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse proposed a sprawling, 70-acre retail, residential, and commercial development surrounding Erie Basin to counter IKEA’s chosen plan. Plus, another massive mixed-use project is also planned for the neighborhood.


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