By Holly Dutton
Two Trees management this week unveiled ambitious new plans for the former Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg that include cube-shaped and “porous” buildings that the architects say will allow light and air to pour through the 24/7 community.
The overhauled design for the waterfront property would be greener and include more than half a million square feet of office space, 2284 apartments, retail and 228,000 s/f of open space.
The proposal offers “an improved alternative” to a 2010 approved plan, according to Two Trees whose principal Jed Walentas said, “We are proposing a new neighborhood for the historic Domino site that is based on community input and designed to bring jobs, quality market rate and affordable housing and world-class open space to the South Williamsburg waterfront.”
The developer bought the site for $180 million last June, after a bitter battle between previous owners The Katan Group and Community Preservation Corporation Resources (CPCR).
Katan claimed in a law suit that CPCR had ignored higher bids on the 11-acre site, but by October, the suit was dismissed. The new renderings, by Barcalys Center designers SHoP Architects, show a collection of five modern high-rise buildings near the waterfront, with a grassy park and recreation area in the immediate waterfront area.
In 2010, the site was re-zoned for residential housing only, but Two Trees announced in February that the site would also include office space, which will have to be approved by the City Council.
Two Trees has held several community input sessions in Williamsburg since closing on the property. The company said the newest vision is based on input from those meetings.
“We are proposing a new neighborhood for the historic Domino site that is based on community input and designed to bring jobs, quality market rate and affordable housing and world-class open space to the South Williamsburg waterfront,” said Walentas in a press release.
The newest plan will include affordable housing units, a public school and recreational facilities.
More than 500,000 s/f of office space has been added, for a total of 631,240 s/f, in part by the adaptive reuse of the Domino Sugar refinery and an additional building with office space for between 3,000 and 5,000 workers.
Affordable housing units will comprise 50 percent of the first building to be built, and will later be integrated into all of the residential buildings.
The company said it is working with the city to include 660 affordable units, which was originally envisioned but not included in the approved plan.
Ground-floor retail will be included in all of the residential buildings, but the plan does not call for any big box stores.
A new waterfront esplanade and acres of park area, including a floating pool, sports fields and seating is included in the plan, with an improved street grid that would connect the neighborhood directly to the waterfront.
The new plan will nix 501 parking spaces from the old plan, in an effort to encourage walking and biking. Two Trees is planning to begin the city’s public review process this spring.