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REBNY WatchViews

Former Domino Sugar site will be boon for jobs, economy

Two of New York City’s top officials, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and City Planning City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod deserve a lot of credit for working out an agreement with Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management on the redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar site.

Thanks to their collaboration, New Yorkers will soon enjoy a set of quality improvements far sweeter than any treat ever produced at the old refinery.

The Domino Sugar site now sits empty and decaying on the Williamsburg waterfront since the plant closed in 2004.

Under the agreement approved by the City Planning Commission last week, the site will be transformed into a dynamic mixed-income and mixed-use community where New Yorkers can walk to work and the public can experience a spectacularly reimagined waterfront. The plan now moves on to the City Council and we urge the Council to enthusiastically vote to approve this important project.

The rebirth of Domino will be dramatic: Two Trees will build a complex of offices, retail space and nearly 2,300 apartments. 700 affordable apartments will cover a range of incomes, including a significant number of units sized for families. This development will bring 2000 permanent jobs back to the site.

To complete a smart and sharp design of the 11 acre site, Two Trees will create 5 new acres of parkland and open space for the public to enjoy.

Two Trees has been preparing the site for development for about a year and they plan on breaking ground on the first building late this year. The work on the first building will mark the start of what will be a steady stream of tax revenue and good jobs generated at the now vacant and crumbling Domino factory.

Rendering of the Two Trees plan for the site

That steady stream of funding for the City is the topic of a comprehensive new study titled, “The Invisible Engine: The Economic Impact of New York City’s Real Estate Industry.”

The study shows that revenue-generating properties represent 38 percent of the city’s tax revenue and the total economic impact of the real estate industry’s activities was an enormous $106.2 billion in jobs, wages and output— including approximately 13 percent of the Gross City Product.

The real estate industry provided enough tax revenue to pay the City’s entire share of $13.1 billion in payroll expenses for teachers, police officers, fire fighters, sanitation workers and correction officers and still have $2.3 billion left to fund other city services.

The crucial agreement on Domino combined with the report’s findings drive home the point that we can and we must continue to build and generate a larger piece of the pie for the residents of the city of New York so they can have more of the services that make New York a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

In other REBNY News:
The next Commercial “Crossfire” event will be on Tuesday, March 18, at 570 Lexington Avenue from 5:30pm-7:00pm. Entitled “The Art of Making a Restaurant Deal in NYC”, the panel will feature: Mark Birnbaum – Cacth, La Cenita, Lexington Brass; John DeLucie – The Lion, Crown, Bill’s; Stephen Starr – Buddakan, Morimoto, Caffe Storico; Michael Weinstein – Bryant Park Grill, Clyde Frazier’s, El Rio Grande; and Ed Hogan –


National Director of Retail Leasing, Brookfield Office Properties. Joanne Podell, Vice Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, and Jeffrey Roseman, Executive Vice President at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail, will moderate. For more information, contact Desiree Jones at

On Tuesday April 1, don’t miss the Members’ Luncheon featuring a panel discussion titled: “Navigating New York’s Hottest New Markets” with Justin Elghanayan, President of Rockrose, Jared Kushner, President of Kushner Companies, Micheal Phillips, Chief Operating Officer, Jamestown and Jed Walentas, Partner, Two Trees Management Company. The panel will be moderated by Ken McCarthy, Chief Economist, Cushman & Wakefield. Also at the Luncheon that we will be present the “2013 Most


Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award” Location: The Hilton New York Grand Ballroom, 1335 Avenue of the Americas Time: Refreshments 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Program & Lunch 12:20 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. To register please visit the events calendar at

On Friday April 10, REBNY Residential Division’s Brooklyn Committee will present a Free Seminar for REBNY Members: Running Your Business from Apps: Essential Tools For Today’s Agent, 9:00am-11:30am at St. Francis College, Founders Hall, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn.
Thursday, May 29. REBNY’s 11th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast honors outstanding leaders in the field of commercial property management. Coffee: 7:30am – 8:30am Program: 8:30am – 10am, The Hilton NY, Grand Ballroom,

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