When it comes to development in New York City, most of the attention is lavished on Manhattan. Despite this focus, there are–surprisingly, to some–four other boroughs, with significant development now occurring along the waterfront in Queens and Brooklyn in particular.
While several areas are undergoing rapid changes in both Brooklyn and Queens, the Williamsburg waterfront is one of the neighborhoods seeing the most rapid change at the moment. Williamsburg is a neighborhood in transition, currently seeing an influx of yuppies and young families from Manhattan who are displacing the hipsters that originally gentrified the ‘burg. Characterized by older clapboard housing stock along with factory-turned loft spaces, many of the newcomers to Williamsburg prefer newer spaces, complete with luxury amenities. Thus, demand has finally yielded to the build-up of the Williamsburg waterfront, which–until the recession began–was sprouting new high-rises on a yearly basis. As New York’s economy has finally begun recovering in earnest, we can expect to see Williamsburg begin booming once more.
As of late 2011, there are three major projects slated to begin relatively soon along the Williamsburg waterfront. In order of size, they are the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment (2200 units), the Rose Plaza development (800 units), and the third tower of Northside Piers (500 units). Encompassing a grand total of roughly 3,500 units, these new residential buildings will certainly inject a much-needed dose of energy and vitality into the Williamsburg waterfront.
The largest of the projects, being built around the old Domino factory, will involve the construction of several new high-rises (designed by Raphael Vinoly) as well as the conversion of the old factory into residences. With the new residential buildings rising up to forty floors, the redevelopment of the Domino factory will certainly have a strong visual impact on the Williamsburg skyline.
Besides the Domino project, the project known as ‘Rose Plaza’ will also be fairly large, with almost eight-hundred units to be built. After years of litigation over proposed density and affordable units, construction on the development should begin fairly soon.
The other notable development currently on the table for Williamsburg is the final tower in the Northside Pier project, which will also be the largest. Rising forty stories, the tower should be a focal-point for the Williamsburg skyline, currently a sea of forgettable 30-story buildings. While the tower’s appearance is far from remarkable, it will still (likely) be the most distinctive building built in Williamsburg to date, and will feature five-hundred luxury rental units. Construction is slated to begin in early 2012.