Two Trees seek proposal for one-year ‘interim user’ on former Con Ed site

Two Trees RFP
Two Trees is looking to offer the marked space at River and N. Third Streets to a local community group for a year.
Courtesy of Two Trees

Two Trees is looking for your two cents.

Real estate developer Two Trees is soliciting proposals on how to utilize a vacant industrial lot along the Williamsburg waterfront as a community asset — at least, until it reclaims the land to construct a massive housing complex. 

The builders purchased the waterfront lot between Metropolitan Avenue and N. Third Street last year, where they plan to erect a pair of massive skyscrapers — planned at 600- and 650-feet-tall each — along with a riverside park and two man-made beaches on the East River.

But to obtain the development rights needed to construct the towering residential complex, Two Trees will have to endure the city’s lengthy land-use review process, and CEO Jed Walentas told members of Community Board 1 that he hopes to have all the permissions needed to kick off the project before the end of 2021. 

And with no interim plans for the waterfront property,  Two Trees put out a call to businesses, community groups, and anyone else who’s interested in a year-long, rent-free lease at the former industrial site to pitch ideas for how they’d use it, according to a request for proposal the group released on Feb. 14.

The document states that applicants should put an “emphasis on sustainability, community engagement and ecology…that not only appeals to a wide cross-section of the Williamsburg community, but one that is in harmony with the environmental assets of this unique waterfront.”

Two Trees will give preference to projects that can finance themselves — although the letter indicates they are ready to pay a “nominal” amount to get the scheme up and running.

The lease would start on April 1 and run for one year, but Two Trees may consider extending it for longer, according to the RFP.

The charitable lease is scheduled to end if and when the developer begins construction at the former fuel oil storage site, which Con Edison sold to Two Trees in December for $150 million.

The developer plans to erect two more than 600-foot tall skyscrapers and a waterfront park.Courtesy of Two Trees

The redevelopment proposal would add an additional 1,000 residential units, 250 of which would have to be offered at so-called “affordable” rates, and includes a YMCA, a park, and a looping boardwalk.

Two Trees CEO Jed Walentas addressed locals at a heated community meeting in January, when he described his plans to obtain all the necessary development rights required to begin constructing the massive towers within the next two years, before Mayor Bill de Blasio leaves office and elections shake up City Council.

Preparations of the site seem to already be underway, with bulldozers leveling the land and removing weeds and shrubs, New York YIMBY reported Monday.