We don’t profess this to be a professional video of the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg. It’s a compilation of out-takes from a project which included this behind the scenes look at the development of Domino Sugar Factory with developer Two Trees Management. For the project, we were using a fish-eye lens and later un-distorting the footage for an immersive experience, but this video shows the raw footage which was then auto-stabilized by YouTube.
Walking through the refinery, we were awestruck by the scale of the buildings, calling to light the intricate work that will need to be done to convert the property into a 24/7 mixed-use development. The refinery building is more akin to the shell of a machine than a structural building, despite being the tallest in the complex. Walking floor to floor, you can see the potential, but also the need to rebuild the interior structure in order to convert it into the planned office space. The building is really made of partial floors, catwalks and supports.
Some of the machinery will be refurbished and placed in the waterfront park space. Says Walentas, “We’ll expand the open space so that we can make a showcase of the large industrial artifacts that are scattered throughout the buildings. We’ll re-use the gantries, and clean up and rebuild the syrup tanks. And we’ll make the whole thing accessible to everyone, transforming the property from a private enclave to an integrated part of the city.” In the raw sugar warehouse, molasses coats the walls and sugary water pools on the floors. Incredibly, you can also still smell the sugar.
While there have been critics to the redevelopment plans, we believe that the boldness of Two Trees’ plans both aesthetically and urban planning-wise, will one day serve as a much-needed differentiator amongst the homogenous wall of glass skyscrapers that are planned along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront. Read more about the development plan here.