Last week, the City Planning Commission approved the redevelopment of the historic Domino Sugar factory by CPC Resources, the for-profit subsidiary of the Community Preservation Corporation, and the Katan Group, a luxury housing developer.
It is an 11-acre, 2.7-million-square-foot project consisting of approximately 2,400 units of housing, as well as retail and commercial space. We agree that the redevelopment of this former manufacturing site is essential to the future of the Brooklyn waterfront, but we share many concerns about the scope of the proposed project.
This community needs, and this community has repeatedly asked for, affordable housing as part of a responsible development plan.
But simply put, the New Domino is too big.
The developer must find a way to reduce the height and bulk while maintaining the affordable housing components of this project.
For a community that is grappling with rapid gentrification and displacement, it is essential that we address the issues that may further harm the Williamsburg neighborhood. The proposed height and density of this project significantly dwarfs other developments in the area. The developer intends to construct four towers along the waterfront, ranging in height from 300 feet to 400 feet. The community needs true access to its waterfront areas, not a row of 40-story towers walling Williamsburg off from the East River.
Once completed, the project will add an astounding 7,000 new residents. Taken together with the other recent development projects that have been approved along the waterfront, there stands to be upwards of 15,000 new residents — and that number is growing. That is a 25-percent increase in population for the half-mile surrounding the site.
Such a dramatic increase will severely tax the community’s existing infrastructure. The nearest subway station is about 15 blocks away from the development. For those residents who can make the trek to Marcy or Bedford avenues, they are faced with overcrowded trains, yet the developer has routinely dismissed the notion that thousands of additional residents will burden the local infrastructure.
Despite repeated requests for the developers to address infrastructure concerns, CPC has not made any plan to update the sewer systems, alleviate subway and bus overcrowding or answer substantive concerns about the creation of hazardous conditions.
As the New Domino development moves to the Council for a hearing on Monday, we hope that the developer will listen to Williamsburg. We seek a reasonable compromise that would allow the development of the vacant site, but balance concerns about height, density, and infrastructure.
Vito Lopez is an assemblyman and Steve Levin is a councilman whose district includes the Domino site. Lopez’s district is adjacent.