Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Refinery signs Equinox as first tenant

October 11, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The luxury gym chain Equinox is planning an outpost at the newly renovated Domino Sugar Refinery, now known as the Refinery at Domino, on the Williamsburg waterfront. Equinox will be the first commercial tenant to take space in the redeveloped industrial building.

The fitness chain has leased 42,000 square feet in the first floor and basement of the historic structure, according to the Commercial Observer. 

A spokesperson for developer Two Trees would not discuss the terms of the lease, including the asking rent or the brokers involved, the Observer said. However, the firm did say that the Equinox gym, in addition to the fitness equipment, would have a pool in the basement of the building. 

The new Equinox gym is expected to open in the fall of 2024, the New York Post reported. 

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Equinox, which opened its outlet on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1991, now has more than 40 locations across New York City. 

Its parent company, Equinox Group, is partially owned by the mega-real estate firm The Related Companies, which also developed an Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards. The Equinox Group also owns Blink Fitness, a separate fitness chain; Pure Yoga, a chain that originated in Hong Kong; and SoulCycle, which offers indoor spinning and cycling workout classes. 

After more than 10 years of planning, rezoning, painstaking demolition, and craftsman level construction, Two Trees Management Company unveiled the renovated Refinery building to the public at 300 Kent Ave. in Williamsburg last month. 

Billed as an “architectural masterpiece,” with a “triple-height atrium lobby, exceptional amenities,” and “acclaimed ground-floor retailers,”  the landmark building recently landed an official New York Fashion Week show and after-party billed as “Walking on Air” and hosted by Hermès. 

“Usually tenants seeking quality office space of a few hundred thousand square feet or more are almost by necessity drawn to Manhattan,” said Tucker Reed, principal of the development firm Totem, and former president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Other than pockets of Downtown Brooklyn like MetroTech, or down in Sunset Park at Industry City or the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn does not have many large footprints to offer large-scale commercial tenants.”

For many years, the entire 11-acre Domino site was an industrial complex owned by the well-known Domino Sugar Corporation. In 2004, after Domino left the site, it was taken over by the Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit housing developer. After CPC had financial problems, Two Trees bought the site in 2012.  

Two Trees crafted an approach that focused on adaptive reuse and open space including a large public park that opened in 2018 and a nearly-one-third increase in amount of affordable housing proposed on the site in the old CPC plan. Today the Refinery is surrounded by more than 850 apartments that have been built to date, with the next phase of the Domino Campus plan estimated to come online next year.

In addition to housing, the Domino complex also includes an office building, Ten Grand Street. At Ten Grand, Two Trees has filled approximately 150,000 square feet of office space. 

“If anyone can lease up the Refinery, it’s Jed Walentas and the team at Two Trees,” added Reed. “Who else would have the vision to reimagine Domino the way they have, and then have the wherewithal to realize it? I would not bet against them.”

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