Azúcar: Crucial City Council vote goes Walentas’ way

Key committee gives a thumbs-up to Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment project

April 25, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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How sweet it is!

Two Trees Management’s massive Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment project on the waterfront in Williamsburg moved a step forward by winning a go-ahead vote from City Councilman Stephen Levin and the council’s Land Use Committee Thursday.

Levin (D-Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights, etc.), who had challenged the Walentas family company’s $1.5 billion project during a subcommittee hearing earlier this month, won concessions from the development firm, a source told the Brooklyn Eagle. Some of the details are still being worked out.

“After weeks of discussions we have reached an agreement on the project at the Domino Sugar site that will build on the gains made by the de Blasio Administration to maximize affordable housing and open space to the Williamsburg community,” Levin said in a statement Thursday.

“By working collaboratively with the Administration, we were able to secure housing that has deeper affordability and will be more accessible to families.”

A vote by the full City Council is set for April 29 to approve the mega-project planned for the 11-acre Kent Avenue site. It will include the preservation of an iconic former factory, which consists of three buildings from the 1880s – and the famous 40-foot yellow neon Domino sign that can be seen from the East River.

In March, the de Blasio Administration made an agreement with Two Trees to increase by 110,000 square feet the amount of affordable housing to be constructed at the site, to 537,000 square feet with 700 permanently affordable apartments. As part of that deal, a significant number will be big enough for families.

Originally, Two Trees had pledged that up to 30% of the apartments, or 660 of them, would be affordable.

The 2.9 million-square-foot development will have a total of 2,282 apartments.

Levin thanked de Blasio “for locking in so much affordable housing in this project.”

De Blasio’s citywide goal for the next decade is to build or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments.

Levin also thanked fellow Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick), “who has stood side by side with me in advocating for the important needs of our communities” – and acknowledged Two Trees’ “extensive community outreach and collaboration throughout this process.”

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