City Reaches Agreement on Domino Sugar Site Redevelopment

A key city panel unanimously approved plans for the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar refinery on the Brooklyn waterfront. The City Planning Commission signed off on the proposal after the de Blasio administration pressured the developers, Two Trees Management, to include more low-income housing units in the 2,300-apartment project.

Under the agreement, the developer will provide an additional 110,000 square feet of low-income housing as part of the project. The proposal will create 700 low-income apartments. These apartments are to be integrated throughout the complex, ensuring a dynamic mixed-income community. Unlike prior proposals, all of these units will be permanently designated for low-income tenants. Work on the first building will begin in December 2014.

In exchange, Two Trees is allowed to build towers of up to 50 stories directly north of the Williamsburg Bridge. The earlier plans called for only 30- and 40-story buildings. De Blasio has said that he is willing to allow developers to build taller buildings in exchange for more low-income units—and his planning chief Carl Weisbrod, head of the City Planning Commission and City Planning Department, is on board, calling the Domino deal “an impressive achievement” that signals a new era.

Mayor de Blasio has set an ambitious goal of building and preserving 200,000 low-income apartments over the coming decade, and this agreement represents a major first step toward achieving that goal.