Brooklyn is properly known as Kings County. During New York’s Gilded Age, Sugar King Henry Osborne Havemeyer and Coffee King John Arbuckle made sure the borough lived up to its name, building their grand industrial empires on the shores of the East River. By the turn of the 20th century, more sugar was being refined in Williamsburg and more coffee roasted in DUMBO than anywhere else in the country, shaping the Brooklyn waterfront and NYC as a preeminent financial and cultural center. The history of coffee and sugar in this town is as rich and exciting as these two commodities are sweet and stimulating, so hang on to your homebrew and get ready for a New York Story.
Domino Sugar Factory
With building construction well under way at the Domino Sugar Factory site, Two Trees Management has now released details about the 11-acre park that will anchor the three-million-square-foot Williamsburg mega-development. To be known as Domino Park and designed by James Corner Field Operations, the quarter-mile open space will boast a new waterfront esplanade, six acres of parkland, a plethora of preserved artifacts, and easier waterfront access. In addition to sharing several new renderings, Two Trees also announced that the park will open in the summer of 2018.
Things are moving ahead swiftly at the Domino Sugar Factory since Two Trees broke ground at the three million-square-foot Williamsburg mega-development last spring. In November, the lottery opened for 104 affordable units at 325 Kent Avenue, the first building at the site. Designed by SHoP Architects, who are also responsible for the project’s entire master plan, the $200 million tower has now topped off at 16 stories, and the skybridge connecting its two wings has also gone up. CityRealty paid a visit to the construction site and got a look at these new views, as well as the copper cladding that’s taken shape on the lower face of the building.
Earlier this fall, the first building at Two Trees’ three million-square-foot Domino Sugar Refinery mega-development topped out. The 16-story, $200 million tower at 325 Kent Avenue was designed by SHoP Architects, the same firm responsible for the entire Williamsburg project’s master plan, and features a two-winged scheme with a central courtyard. It’ll hold a whopping 522 rental units, 104 of which will be reserved for individuals earning 40 percent of the area media income. As of today, these affordable apartments are up for grabs through the city’s housing lottery, where availability ranges from $596/month studios to $979/month two-bedrooms.
Commercial landlords looking to compete with cutting-edge co-working spaces like the Navy Yard’s New Lab or amenity-filled developments like Industry City have their work cut out for them, and it looks like Two Trees is pulling out all the requisite stops for their new office building The Refinery at Williamsburg‘s massive, under-construction Domino Sugar Factory complex. Curbed got its hands on the first set of renderings of the 380,000-square-foot office space, which show how tenants can work with architects Beyer Blinder Belle to customize their spaces for “innovation” and “authenticity.” The interiors preserve the former industrial details (exposed brick, ceilings beams), while incorporating creative perks such as suspended glass-and-steel office pods, an indoor skate park, and a bevy of common areas.
After breaking ground last spring, the first tower of Two Trees’ three million-square-foot Domino Sugar Refinery Master Plan has finally lifted out of of the ground. Addressed 325 Kent Avenue (Site E), the 400,000-square-foot building rises one block inland from the East River waterfront and the remaining five parcels of the master plan. The future 16-story, 189-foot-tall project covers three-quarters of its block bound by Kent and Wythe Avenues and South 3rd and 4th Streets. All in all, the two-winged tower will hold a whopping 522 rental units, making it the second largest residential building in Williamsburg after the also-in-construction 2 North 6th Street.
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Here, Carter brings us his fifth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at Brooklyn’s once demure skyline, soon to be Manhattan’s rival.
Downtown Brooklyn has had a modest but pleasant skyline highlighted by the 350-foot-high Court & Remsen Building and the 343-foot-high great ornate terraces of 75 Livingston Street, both erected in 1926, and the 462-foot-high flat top of the 1927 Montague Court Building. The borough’s tallest building, however, was the great 514-foot-high dome of the 1929 Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, now known as One Hanson Place, a bit removed to the east from Downtown Brooklyn. It remained as the borough’s tallest for a very long time, from 1929 until 2009. A flurry of new towers in recent years has significantly enlarged Brooklyn’s skyline. Since 2008, nine new towers higher than 359 feet have sprouted there, in large part as a result of a rezoning by the city in 2007. A few other towers have also given its riverfront an impressive frontage.
Whereas in the past the vast majority of towers were clustered about Borough Hall downtown, now there are several clusters with some around the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the former Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower and some around the Williamsburg riverfront.
In the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge and across from the massive Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment underway by Two Trees, a tiny corner site at 349 Kent Avenue and South 5th Street will give rise to a six-story, 10-unit residential building designed by Brooklyn-based Workshop DA.
The 4,000 square-foot lot was purchased for $1.3 million by Eugene Bushinger’s 351 Kent Realty LLC in early 2011 and in May, it was reported that building permits were filed for a 15,300 square-foot residential building. The pre-existing, two-story structure that once provided a welcome splash of color along the Brooklyn Greenway has since been demolished. Its worn, brick faced boasted a geometric and robot-infused mural painted by R. Nicholas Kuszyk (a.k.a. RRobotsollaboration) with How and Nosm in 2011.
Google Earth rendering of the new residential buildings going up in Downtown Brooklyn, via CityRealty
We recently reported that New York City was entering its biggest building boom since 1963. Building permits rose 156 percent over the last year, accounting for 52,618 new residential units. If that number seems large to you, keep in mind it’s spread over the five boroughs, including the supertall towers of Manhattan. But a new report from CityRealty shows that northern Brooklyn alone with get 22,000 new apartments over the next four years.
According to the report, which only looked at buildings with 20 or more units, “around 2,700 new units are expected to be delivered in 2015. That number will nearly double in 2016, when approximately 5,000 apartments will be ready for occupancy.” The majority of these units, 29 percent or 6,412 apartments, will come to Downtown Brooklyn, followed by Williamsburg with 20 percent or 4,341 units.
You’ve probably realized that New York is in the midst of a skyscraper boom, but if the ubiquitous scaffolding and sidewalk detours haven’t given it away, we bring you further proof — with part two of our series detailing the tallest residential towers set to rise high above the city, forever changing New York’s skyline.
Compared to the previous 26 projects — the tallest of the tall that included ultra-luxury and super-tall towers such as 432 Park Avenue and 125 Greenwich Street — this second batch is composed of smaller buildings ranging from 500 to 700 feet tall and features greater geographical diversity and lots more rentals. With developers scouring the city for less expensive areas to assemble properties, these often-controversial projects are slated to rise in some of our more human-scaled ‘hoods such as East Harlem, South Street Seaport, and Williamsburg.