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Domino development gets Landmark approval

The redesign and reuse plan for the former Domino Sugar Factory received unanimous approval from the city Landmark Preservation Commission during a January 14 vote that marked an about-face for commission members, who had rejected the plan a month earlier over concerns about a proposed height increase to the 1880s building.

Approval from the LPC is a big step forward for developer Two Trees Management, which unveiled its initial redesign plan for an 11-acre stretch of the Williamsburg waterfront back in March. The overall $1.5 billion plan includes commercial and residential towers along with a waterfront park and public plaza.

The LPC’s initial concerns concerned proposed glass additions to the factory’s roof, which several LPC members felt would block the roofline.

The vacant building, located at 292-314 Kent Avenue, is slated to be transformed into office space for businesses and entrepreneurs in the technology and creative arts industries, plus ground-floor retail space.

Two Trees Principal Jed Walentas said the update is “a much better and more respectful plan” that has community support from local business owners and Community Board One.

The previous plan, approved by the City Council in 2010 but rejected by LPC in 2013, would have seen the building redesigned for mixed-use residential use.

According to architect Jack Beyer of Beyer Blinder Belle, the rejected roof additions are still there but have been redesigned to help make the roofline “proudly visible” and to complement a smaller replica of the famous “Domino” sign above the building’s entrance.

Two Trees’ plan would have the factory building be the only part of the refinery complex to remain intact; the rest would be demolished and built over to create 2,200 apartments, 631,000 square feet of office space, and retail space.

Two Trees hopes to get Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) approval of the plan by this April so that it can begin construction on the first building in 2014. The project would take around a decade to complete.

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