Two Trees Management Company today announced the creative community uses that will open to the public by the end of May on Site E of the Domino Sugar property. What is currently a vacant 55,000 s/f lot on Kent Avenue between South 3rd and South 4th Streets will be transformed by two independent operators into a neighborhood destination with a community farm, bilingual reading room, community green space, family-friendly bike courses, affordable food and goods from local vendors and a variety of seasonal programming, including kids days, yoga classes, and hands-on urban farming classes. Two Trees released a Request for Proposals in January seeking interim uses for the site that area residents could enjoy before construction starts on the Domino Sugar redevelopment plan next year.
“Two Trees is committed to Williamsburg for the long haul, and we want to be able to give back to the community as we prepare to build at the Domino Sugar site,” said Jed Walentas, Principal at Two Trees Management. “The operators we’ve selected will be welcoming residents of all ages to this new public open space for biking, reading, relaxing, yoga classes, and more.”
Site E will be shared by two local operators through a collaborative plan that will encourage community interaction while allowing for the least amount of impact on the immediate neighborhood.
The eastern portion of the site will include a variety of different open spaces, including a tranquil reading room, a community farm operated by North Brooklyn Farms, and a community green space which will be used for programming such as yoga, speakers, and aerobics. A group led by Williamsburg resident Bobby Redd will design, build, and operate this portion of Site E. In late 2011 Bobby Redd’s group took temporary residence at 626 Bushwick Ave. and transformed a 19th century vacant church into the vibrant community space it is today.
The western portion of the site, bordering Kent Ave, will include a free, family-oriented bike course which will include a basic skills training area for children, novices, and intermediate riders, as well as an advanced pump track for the more skilled riders. The cycling area will be run by local bike shop Ride Brooklyn, in partnership with the New York City Mountain Bike Association, and free bikes will be available.
“We thank Two Trees for the opportunity to take part in beautifying this vacant lot, and we plan to establish a community green space where all are welcome,” said Bobby Redd. “We have had immense success working with the Bushwick Community over the past 14 months and we look forward to working together with our new neighbors in South Williamsburg.”
“Ride Brooklyn is excited to have this opportunity to continue our tradition of bicycle advocacy and community involvement,” said Jessica Kocher, co-owner of Ride Brooklyn. “We want to give something back to the people who give us so much by making the activities we love free, and accessible, to everyone in our community!”
These interim uses are just a taste of the variety of active and passive uses that will be part of the Domino Sugar redevelopment plan’s waterfront esplanade and acres of parkland, designed by landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, which will include kayak launches, a floating pool, sports fields, lawns and gardens with varied seating options.
The Two Trees plan for the Domino Sugar site, released earlier this month and based on extensive community input, will reconnect South Williamsburg to its waterfront; reactivate the historic Domino Sugar factory to house between 3,000 and 4,000 permanent jobs, tripling existing Williamsburg commercial space and supporting the growth of the neighborhood’s tech and creative industries; bring world-class design to the creative neighborhood; and deliver hundreds of units of affordable housing, a public school and a recreational facility. Two Trees plans to begin the City’s public review process this spring.