Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Huge Domino Sugar plan clears last hurdle

Judge dismisses final major lawsuit against mixed-use development on Williamsburg waterfront that will include 2,200 residential units.

The New York State Supreme Court late Tuesday afternoon dismissed a lawsuit against the rezoning of the former Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that was crucial to the redevelopment of the site.

Late last year, the Williamsburg Community Preservation Coalition sued the city and the project’s developer, Community Preservation Resources Corp., claiming that the City Council, the Department of City Planning and the developer failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews for the project and that it therefore should not have been approved. The decision was made immediately after arguments were heard in court from both sides on Tuesday. 

“We are gratified by the unequivocal and swift decision made in a rare bench ruling today by Judge Eileen Rakower in State Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the city’s approval of the New Domino,” said Susan Pollock, senior vice president of CPC Resources, in a statement.

Jeffrey Baker of law firm Young Sommer Ward Ritzenberg Baker & Moore, who represents the Williamsburg Community Preservation Coalition, could not be reached immediately for comment.

The developer said it is on track to begin construction of the $2 billion redevelopment of the 11-acre Domino Sugar refinery site along the Williamsburg waterfront. The plans call for mixed-use development with 2,200 residential units. CPC expects to break ground on the initial residential development on the upland parcel next year. The project will include 660 affordable units, with 100 set aside for families with income under $23,000. It will also include four acres of waterfront public open space.

This lawsuit was the final hurdle for the project, which had generated criticism over the past few years. City Councilman Stephen Levin dropped his opposition to the new Domino project when the developers agreed to decrease some building heights. He had argued that the project was too big and had too few low-income housing units.

“I applaud today’s decision by the Supreme Court to drop the litigation,” said Councilmember Diana Reyna, in a statement. “This is great news for our community; I praise the hard work and determination from the team at the Community Preservation Corporation as well as community leaders. The New York City Council was instrumental in ensuring that high levels of affordable housing and vast public space were incorporated while preserving the integrity of the design and viability of the project."

The redevelopment plan was approved last July by the City Council. The developers said they plan to redevelop the 100-year-old landmarked refinery building and its famed Domino Sugar sign. The new Domino project will take 10 years to complete.”.

By Amanda Fung / Crain's New York Business
May 25, 2011 5:59 p.m.