Domino Community Forum
This past Tuesday, Community Preservation Corporation Resources (CPCR) and its team made their first formal presentation on the "New Domino" plan to the community at large. The forum was a special land use committee meeting of Community Board 1 at the Swinging 60s Senior Center on Ainslie Street. CPCR (the lead developer), it architects, landscape architect and attorney gave a 45 minute presentation, which was followed by about an hour of Q&A from the community.
The project is largely unchanged from what was presented to community groups over the summer, so there was little in the way of new news. In terms of preservation, there was little in the way of content overall. CPCR is, of course, preserving the refinery (they mentioned on more than one occasion that they supported the designation of the refinery). The development plans still call for the removal of all of the other Domino buildings on the site, including the Adant House. Although the project's preservation architect (Beyer Blinder Belle) was there and made a presentation, they did not have any details on the proposed addition to the refinery. Even the program for the refinery remains vague - there will be one story of retail, two stories (100,000 sf) of community facility, and the remainder market-rate residential (and to be fair, CPCR said at the outset that a lot of aspects of their proposal were still under development).
The one piece of actual preservation news is that CPCR more or less committed to retaining the Domino Sugar sign and incorporating it "somewhere" within the project.
Most of the Q&A focused on questions of building heights and the overall project density, with the most impassioned comments reserved for CPCR's plans for the former Domino parking on the east side of Kent Avenue. There, the developer is proposing to build to a density of 6.0 FAR, with buildings up to 14 stories tall. This height and density far exceeds anything approved for non-waterfront blocks in the larger Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning (typically, the higher-density inland blocks were rezoned for a density of 3.0 FAR and a maximum building height of 7 stories). CPCR cited the neighborhood context as supporting this height and density, but that context amounts to pointing to the Esquire Building, until the recent building boom, the tallest building in all of North Brooklyn, and easily three times the height of the average building in the Southside.
The timeline for the project is also a work in progress. CPCR expects their application to rezone the six Domino blocks from manufacturing to residential to be certified in January 2008. If that schedule holds, the Community Board will hold hearings on the application in January or February, and final approval of the rezoning could come as early as July 2008. In the meantime, CPCR agreed to return for a follow-up informational meeting with the community. Hopefully that will include more details on the preservation and reuse of the refinery.