It’s been a decade since Thor Equities demolished the iconic Revere Sugar Refinery on the Red Hook waterfront. Now, they’ve finally filed plans for a five-story office building on the huge lot at 270 Richards Street, between Van Brunt and Dwight streets.
The development would span 645,100 square feet and rise 77 feet into the air. The ground floor would hold retail, a gym, an office lobby, and a restaurant. Offices would occupy the top four floors, followed by a roof deck and a walking track. Thor also plans to include a waterfront esplanade and a central courtyard. The complex would be split into two sections, “Block A” and “Block B,” according to the plans.
The project would also have a whopping 1,112 parking spots. The zoning code always demands plenty of parking for commercial projects, but we wonder if all of this parking is required. It probably isn’t needed, even in this somewhat isolated area of Brooklyn.
London-based Norman Foster + Partners are designing the project – which Bloomberg revealed last week – and Adamson Associates Architects filed the plans.
It’s unclear whether Thor has funding for its project, and the firm didn’t tell Bloomberg when they expect to start or finish construction. The Joe Sitt-led company isn’t the first to plan an ambitious office development on the Red Hook waterfront, which is prone to flooding and isolated from public transit. The closest subway stop to the Richards Street site is more than a mile away at Smith-Ninth Streets.
Italian developer Est4te Four hopes to build a 1.1 million-square-foot commercial project near the Red Hook Container Terminal. But without a major anchor tenant or a co-developer who’s willing to take on some risk, Est4te Four has struggled to find funding. Last fall, they announced that they were looking for a partner willing to invest $100 million in the project. We haven’t heard much about it since then.
Back in 2005, Thor paid $40 million for the 666,000-square-foot site between Ikea and Fairway. Sitt had originally planned to rezone the site and build a 1.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use project. He commissioned Magnusson Architecture and Planning to create some renderings and conduct a feasibility study. MAP’s plans called for a 12-story residential tower with 900 units, plus 250,000 square feet of retail and 400,000 square feet of parking. However, the city remains committed to keeping the Red Hook coastline zoned for heavy industry, and the site is stuck with its low-density industrial zoning.
The old Revere Sugar plant harkened back to the late 19th century, when Brooklyn produced more than half the country’s sugar. The Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg – then the Havermeyers & Elders Sugars Company – was the largest of those factories, and portions of it remain today because it was landmarked. Two Trees’ redevelopment of that massive waterfront property is well underway, and they managed to preserve some of Domino’s most iconic pieces. Unfortunately, Revere was not so lucky. To see what it looked like in its final days, you can check out photos from Nate Dorr and Nathan Kensinger.
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