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Sour on Domino
May 5th, 2010

Anya Khalamayzer filed this post.

Williamsburg community activists are continuing their efforts to block or change plans that would convert the old Domino Sugar Refinery into a luxury apartment complex. Members of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, formerly Neighbors Against Garbage, gathered at the group’s offices on Kent Avenue and North 7th Street in Williamsburg last night to discuss how the redevelopment might change their community and the waterfront.

“The Domino Sugar refinery literally used to be the lifeblood of this community,” said tenant organizer Ryan Kuonen, a history buff.

Neighbors Allied members fear that the construction of 2,200 new apartments will displace current tenants, harm the district’s environment and further crowd the L train. As more market-rate apartments follow and bring with them chainstores such as the Duane Reade being constructed on North 3rd and Bedford, the Poles, Latinos, Hasidim, artists and mom-and-pop businesses now in the neighborhood face being forced out.

CPC Resources, the developer behind the New Domino building, has promised to set aside 30 percent, or 660 apartments, of affordable housing for Williamsburg residents whose yearly income is below the states average median.

But Neighbors Allied co-founder Laey Tauber has her doubts. “The devil is in the details,” she said. Tauber has heard from friends who live in special units in other luxury residents that the tenants who pay the lower rate get neither the housing quality nor access to amenities enjoyed by the tenants who pay market rate. She also complains that those who need the housing will still be unable to afford the lower rates.

Spread over an estimated eight towers looming 10 to 40 stories in height, the New Domino may reel in as many as 7,000 new residents. To transport these people to their jobs, Borough President Marty Markowitz , who backs the plan, has urged that shuttle buses run the six blocks from Kent and North 4th Street to the Bedford Avenue/ North 7th Street L train station

Those buses would make it easier to get to the subway but would do nothing to ease the crowding on the trains themselves. For those who dont want to rub elbows on the subway, the project will include 1,700 parking spaces.

Critics charge this will encourage the use of cars in a neighborhood with a high asthma rate, as shown by the city’s Community Health Survey.

CPC Resources also plans to build a four-acre waterfront esplanade designed by famed Rafael Vinoly Architects. But some residents worry that will not be enough to compensate for all the additional people in the neighborhood, and there still will be less open space per person than there is now. The towers also are predicted to cast a shadow over other public parks.

In February, Community Board 1 voted “no” on the new Domino last month, but that decision is purely advisory. The project must win approval from the City Planning Commission and City Council. The area’s two council members remain split on the project. Stephen Levin opposes the plan, but Diana Reyna is in favor on the grounds that the development would create jobs.

By on May 5, 2010, 6:46 pm
In category: Community Development,Housing,Land Use | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Sour on Domino”

  1. Lacey Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Hi, Just wanted to note that I am definitely not one of the co-founders of NAG. NAG has been around since 1994, and though I am a board member and an organizer for NAG, I’ve only been involved for about 2 years. Just want to give credit where credit is due.

    I’m also pretty sure I’m not the one who said “the devil is in the details” – the credit for that observation should go to Co-Chair Ward Dennis.

    However, I did say the part about knowing people who are unsatisfied with the affordable units in luxury developments!

    Thanks,
    Lacey Tauber
    Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG)

  2. TheUntoldStory Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Diana Reyna does not understand displacement mathematics, or maybe she does and does not care about her community anymore. For every one luxury unit, 5 middle to low income people become displaced. She barely survived the election and now lives in Queens. The community she says she is looking out for has been ravaged already by her past & current decisions and ineffectiveness. Displacement is in in the last phases and this may complete the process.

    When all is said and done, only 50 “truly” affordable units (according the true income of her constituency) of undetermined size – and those will go into the infamous mysterious “lottery” system which no one seems to get anything from.

    The developers are a Wall St. operation (CPC-non profit/CPCR- for profit). They lied to the Community (Latino included) and the Brooklyn Council People about the “permanent” affordability by not disclosing the 15-year cap.
    Brooklyn Paper: “Did we say 15 years? We meant to say Forever!” http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/10/33_10_ac_domino_update.html

    They misinformed the Latino Community and Churches, and have done massive amounts of lobbying to get a few Roman Catholic Churches on their side.
    WG magazine: “Misinform & Conquer: The Developer, Domino, and the Latino Vote” http://thewgnews.com/2010/04/10706/#more-10706

    They lied to everyone, the City and all the politicians they have lobbied for support, about the expected profits to justify this massive mega-project.
    Greenpoint Star: “City report obtained by Star sheds new light on Domino development.” http://www.greenpointstar.com/view/full_story/7283287/article-City-report-obtained-by-Star-sheds-new-light-on-Domino-development?instance=home_news_right

    This all has been going on for years, but has only come to light in the last month. My God, what’s next?!

  3. Greg Says:
    May 6th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    We NEED more affordable homes and jobs in Williamsburg, but those future residents simply can’t fit on the train as it currently stands. And adding 1700(!!) cars to the ‘hood isn’t a solution either.

    Instead of suggesting to the developer that they magically “increase L train service,” perhaps BP Markowitz should join us on the L train at Rush hour for a week?

  4. Owen Reando Says:
    November 18th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Wow: this is very nice !! ..

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