Developer Jed Walentas has dreamed of turning sugar into gold on the Williamsburg waterfront for six years. Today, the moment of truth of the former Domino Sugar Plant on 300 Kent Avenue is approaching. Designated in 1865, the landmark has been transformed into a unique office building behind a weathered brick facade.
The search begins this month and finds 460,000 square foot office block tenants for Two Trees developers. This is a glass-enclosed building inside a building that is the centerpiece of Two Trees’ apartments, stores, offices and the popular $ 3 billion Domino site complex. park.
The refinery is not like any other adaptive use in the city, as it is called. The arrest structure more viscerally evokes an era of hardship and loss of sweat than the regular conversion of downtown warehouses into offices.
I first Toured the place with Warentas in 2016, It was the creepiest void I’ve ever seen. Labor of past generations appeared to be buried in pipes, girders, 30-foot-high tubs, and catacombs of catwalks that ended in the air.
Sugar was refined there until Domino moved to Yonkers in 2004. However, the grunge of the industrial era remained. Mary Antai, CEO of CBRE Tristate, head of the office leasing team, recalls: It was black, annoying, and stinking. “
Today, after $ 250 million in restoration and internal reimagination, nothing remains in the past, except for the 15-story brick facade and the large domino sign. The office building, which takes the “cool factor” to a new level, is inserted inside the brick outer wall, like a ship in a bottle, and the perimeter of the glass wall is 15 feet away from the façade.
Valentas’ vision for the refinery reminded me of Alexander Pope’s words. “Consult the genius of the place,” she said, referring to architecture that “must logically fit the characteristics of the place.” (Tighe is certainly the only deal maker to bring 18th century poetry to the table.)
“What Walentases do is bring the neighborhood closer to what is essentially there,” Tighe said. “This building couldn’t exist anywhere but New York, but it was in Williamsburg.”
Natural light shines through church-like arched windows onto almost pillar-free floors with ceiling heights of up to 14 feet, 27,269-33,257 square feet. Between the inside of the glass curtain wall and the outside of the masonry, there is a green landscape of vines, plants and 30-foot-high sweet gum trees.
Amenities include a shared amenity floor with a fitness center, a retail store on the ground floor, a three-story atrium lobby, and operable windows. This is almost unprecedented in modern buildings. By next year, a 27,000-square-foot glass penthouse dome with spectacular river and skyline views will rise to the rooftop.
Offer rents are expected to range from $ 55 to $ 85 per square foot. Tighe said the site has no commercial rent tax and that companies moving from Manhattan have tax incentives.
Walentas has developed a refinery entirely by specification, that is, without a pre-signed tenant. I asked Tighe that even state-of-the-art creative tenants would hesitate to move to a 250-foot-high, 150-year-old chimney in front of a very creepy-looking building. (Architecture is the practice of architecture, urbanism and Density Works. The High Line fame James Corner Field Operation is a landscape architect. Bonetti / Koselsky is famous for interior design.)
However, Tighe said such a pioneering approach is typical of the Walentas family. Jed’s father, David Warentas, created most of his own neighborhood, now called Dumbo.
Like his father, “Jed has absolute clarity about what he wants,” Thai said. “He doesn’t have a partner, so he can do this. His company spends only his money.
“If it succeeds, we can’t reproduce Jed’s success,” Tighe said. “I can’t say’let’s build another refinery’.”