Domino Sugar Is Gone, but Sign Will Live On After Ruling
By MICHAEL WILSON
Published: June 25, 2008
The Domino Sugar sign that announced the mill on the East River in Brooklyn for generations will be displayed atop new apartments being built at the site under a plan approved on Tuesday by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
“It really is preservation in its best sense,” Michael D. Lappin, a partner in the development of the property, said after the hearing.
In February and March, the developers approached the commission with a proposal for a glass addition planned for the roof of the former Williamsburg refinery that was criticized by both the commissioners and the public. The plan depicted a five-story structure atop the old building, made taller by bulkheads holding motors for the elevators and cooling system on the roof. Opponents called the addition too bulky and incongruous with the refinery, which was built in 1884.
Commissioners asked the developers to rework the addition, and to try to include a place for the Domino sign, which is atop a nearby building that will be torn down. Though the commission designated the refinery a landmark last year, protecting it from destruction, the sign was not included in that designation, and its future had been uncertain.
Sugar processing largely shut down at the plant in 2003.
The plan that was released on Tuesday reduced the size of the addition — from five stories to four and, in some places, three stories — with the bulkheads hidden inside the glass structure. The Domino sign will be attached to the glass addition.
Commissioners approved the design by a vote of 7 to 1. Commissioner Margery Perlmutter voted against the design. Construction is to begin in the fall of 2009, Mr. Lappin said.
The plan for the refinery and new buildings calls for shops, open space and 2,200 apartments to be built on an 11.5-acre site surrounding the refinery, in buildings of 30 and 40 stories. Thirty percent of the apartments would be reserved for families with low or moderate incomes.