A new waterfront park and two mixed-use towers may soon come to the Williamsburg waterfront, north of the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment site.
Developers Two Trees Management—also behind the Domino megaproject—unveiled a proposal to build two mixed-use towers, up to 650-foot-tall, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and a six-acre park with access to the East River, designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind Domino Park and the High Line). The waterfront development will stretch from Grand to North 3rd street on River Street.
“We put a world-class team here together … and really challenged ourselves to build another park with the impact and significance and social benefits as Domino Park,” Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management, said at a project presentation on Thursday. “We really thought that this site was an opportunity to change the way that New Yorkers interacted with the river and the water.”
The BIG-designed towers will have 1,000 residential units, 250 of which will be below-market rate. They will also include a 47,000-square-foot YMCA, 30,000 square feet of retail space, and 57,000 square feet of office space.
“There’s this post-industrial possibility where we can actually reimagine the waterfront as sort of a living and lively urban and natural habitat,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner at BIG, said about the development site. He added that one of the main missions of the project is to close the gap between Grand Ferry Park and the North 5th Pier to create a “continuous journey” of public space along the waterfront.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of the project is its Field Operations-designed public waterfront park, with community input, which will have a circular esplanade extending into the East River, a sandy beach, tidal pools, a fishing pier, salt marsh, a boating cove on North 1st Street, and an amphitheater. There will also be community kiosks with 5,000 square feet worth of space available to community partners, kayak rental, among other things.
One of the project’s goals is to increase resiliency on the waterfront, “to really expand the river in order to create a softer shoreline and have one that has active ecological benefits as well as access benefits, and part of this strategy, is really to increase resilience,” Lisa Switkin, senior principal at Field Operations, said during the project’s presentation.
“The idea of creating a series of break waters, including marsh lands and other types of things that actually slow down the waves and dissipate that energy so both the impact as well as the rebound actually get softened,” Switkin said.
Built on the former Con Edison North First Street terminal site, the developers will seek a rezoning and make their way through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). Walentas said he aims for the project to get approved in the next two years, and that construction should take around five years. Two Trees recently bought the 3.5-acre site for $150 million.
At a community board meeting in May, before the sale, a neighborhood group deemed Sustainable Williamsburg (formerly known as the Friends of the Northside Waterfront) expressed their opposition to a possible rezoning of the site, the Greenpoint Post reported. An online petition against the site’s rezoning has 1,593 signatures.