Construction work is ramping up for the office conversion of the 140-year-old Domino Sugar Refinery at 292 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Designed by Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) and developed by Two Trees, the project is the centerpiece of the Domino Sugar master plan by SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations and involves the construction of a massive barrel-vaulted glass roof atop the former factory. When complete, the structure will top out at 235 feet tall, while the interiors will be gutted and restored. Levels one through four, as well as 14 and 15 will have their ceiling spans increased, and the 16th floor will be eliminated.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the proposal in 2017 for the property, which is located next to the Domino Park esplanade on the north side of the Williamsburg Bridge and is bound by Kent Avenue to the east, River Street to the west, South 2nd Street to the north, and South 3rd Street to the south.
Below is what the refinery looked like before construction activity began.
Recent photographs show the entire brick masonry shell of the former factory shrouded in black netting and supported by several temporary steel-framed braces. The smokestack remains exposed, while a construction crane had been assembled on the eastern side of the property and signals the beginning stages of the Domino Sugar Refinery’s long-awaited transformation.
Previously seen renderings depict the updated proposal that features a centralized stair system positioned between the two symmetrical barrel-vaulted domes on the eastern profile, facing inland and housed within a box-shaped volume of space. The structure has been vacant since 2004, and was declared a city landmark three years later.
The Domino Sugar Refinery’s new life in the 21st century will boast the following: ground-floor retail, 12 levels of office space, a 14th-floor event space with double-height ceilings, a catering kitchen, and back-of-house areas. As for the rest of the Domino Sugar master plan, a mix of offices, market-rate and affordable housing, retail, and communal facilities aim to integrate with the Williamsburg neighborhood and create a more vibrant waterfront space. SHoP’s 325 Kent Avenue and COOKFOX’s One South First are the first two buildings to be completed, while two even bigger buildings are anticipated to be built sometime in the near future.
YIMBY last announced that Two Trees expects completion in the early 2020s.