Domino Sugar sign signing off

After critical change, city is sweet on Domino

Say goodbye to the Domino Sugar sign — for now, at least.

The most iconic sign in Williamsburg will come down sometime this month to allow for the demolition of the building it sits atop, and it is set to remain out of sight for an undetermined amount of time. An activist who has long fought the development of the former Domino Sugar factory says the sign’s removal will leave a gaping hole in the Brooklyn skyline.

Sugar sugar: The Domino sign, which has long been an icon of the Brooklyn waterfront, is coming down for restoration.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

“It is sad,” said activist Colin Miles, a founder of the rabble-rousing group Save Domino. “It is like taking down our own little Empire State building.”

Two Trees Management is demolishing the auxiliary building that supports the sign, but has said it will one day place it on the roof of the main refinery building, which it is sparing from the wrecking ball and turning into offices. The company says its commitment to saving the sign shows that it cares about the factory’s history.

Sweet surrender: Get a good look at this sign.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Gilbert

“The rehabilitation of the Domino Sugar sign is symbolic of the significant investment Two Trees is making to preserve and celebrate the relics of Brooklyn’s industrial past.” said David Lombino, Two Trees’ director of special projects.

The company plans to build a mega-development on the site of the former industrial complex, including five space-age towers that are supposed to hold thousands of residential units, office space, retail stores, and a school.

Zero hour: This futuristic compound is what is in store for the Domino Sugar factory site.
Courtesy of Two Trees Management Company

The company will put up scaffolding as early as this week to begin the process of dismantling the sign, a rep said. The job will be tricky because no one at Two Trees is sure how the sign is affixed to the side of the building or how many individual pieces it is made of, the rep said.

Once it’s down, Two Trees plans to put the sign in storage somewhere that preservationists can study it to figure out how to keep it intact and looking good in its second life.

The iconic Domino Sugar sign is coming down

Two Trees says it could take as many as 15 years to complete the entire Domino development. The first building up for construction is the one that will occupy the Kent Avenue lot currently home to Havemeyer Park.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.