How sweet it is: Construction progress at the Domino Sugar site

Eye On Real Estate

July 6, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This is the first new building to be constructed at the Domino Sugar Refinery site, as seen from the corner of Kent Avenue and S. 4th Street. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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What a difference a year makes.

Just look at the first new building Two Trees Management is constructing at its 11-acre Domino Sugar Refinery site in Williamsburg, and you’ll see what we mean.

Last summer, bulldozers were digging a deep hole at 325 Kent Ave., AKA Site E.

This summer, the framework of a rental-apartment building rises high above the construction fence surrounding the property.

The S. 4th Street side of the building-in-the-making was 10 floors higher than the fence the day we snapped photos of the Walentas family’s mega-project on the East River waterfront. It might be taller by the time this story is published.

The S. 3rd Street side of the building isn’t as far along.

The new apartment building is on the opposite side of Kent Avenue from Domino’s landmarked refinery complex.

Readers with good memories will recall that in previous stories, we referred to Site E as 329 Kent Ave. That address was used when a temporary community space with bicycle trails was located there.  

But because city Buildings Department records concerning the new apartment building are filed under the address 325 Kent Ave., that’s the address we’ve started using.

As Two Trees principal Jed Walentas announced when construction started at Site E in March 2015, the new building will have approximately 500 apartments; about 105 of them will be affordable units for low-income residents.

Completion of the $200 million-plus development is expected in 2017.

Buildings Department filings indicate that 16-story 325 Kent will be 382,746 square feet in size, and will have an 1,822-square-foot community facility and 9,378 square feet of commercial space.

Progress on the waterfront bulkhead, too

The new apartment building is just one piece of the 2.95 million-square-foot Domino project.

On the site’s shoreline, a quarter-mile-long bulkhead is being replaced and upgraded. A public park will be located on the bulkhead.

Domino’s shoreline neighbor, Grand Ferry Park, is a good place to peek at the progress that’s being made on the bulkhead.

The day we were at the Grand Street park, a worker was out on a wooden walkway between rows of concrete piles in the water beside the Domino property. If you stood far away, he appeared to be walking on water.

As for Domino’s famed former factory complex at 292-314 Kent Ave., it’s made up of three buildings that were built in the 1880s. History buffs remember it as the Havemeyers & Elder Filter, Pan & Finishing House.

The long-vacant refinery will be turned into office space — and an iconic 40-foot yellow neon  “Domino” sign that stood on a now-demolished building will be placed on the adaptively reused property.

Walentas recently told the New York Post that he, David Falk and Falk’s colleagues at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank are looking for a single office tenant to rent the entire 380,000-square-foot refinery space. Walentas predicted if a tenant is found, it will probably be a New Economy business “from the creative, digital and media worlds,” Post columnist Steve Cuozzo wrote. 

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