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.

Domino Sugar Factory-Abandoned-Williamsburg-Brooklyn-NYC

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.

Video shot and edited by @untappedmich, music “Wandering Song” by Kittens Ablaze. See more photographs here and by Abandoned NYC

4 thoughts on “Video Inside Williamsburg’s Abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery

  1. My father was one of the safety & sanitation supervisors at the sugar house for 18 years, up until 1972 when he left to work full-time in the family construction business. My mother was the nurse in the on-site infirmary in the 1960s. I have many, many great memories of the sugar house and it saddens me now to see it like this.

  2. Very interesting to see the inside of these structures and the waterfront side–this is an ambitious project! We walked by the property on Saturday on a tour of Williamsburg and our guide told us a bit about the development, I’m eager to see how it turns out.

  3. cool vid but why so long to post? If I had to guess by the progress of demolition, this vid was taken in late winter..

    1. Good question. The video was shot on March 29th, 2013 and was originally intended for another project. We had to wait until that completed before putting this together.

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