Mayor Bill de Blasio announced late Monday a deal under which Two Trees Management Co. would add more affordable housing at its 2.9 million-square-foot Domino Sugar refinery project on the Williamsburg Waterfront. In exchange, the city will grant the necessary permits to allow the re-imagined development to move forward.
"We set out from day one to get the best possible value for the public. This partnership delivers on that commitment," said Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, in a statement. She added that the agreement is "a win for all sides, and it shows that we can ensure the public's needs are met, while also being responsive to the private sector's objectives."
The agreement sets in stone a requirement that 537,000 square feet of the project, which will translate to roughly 700 out of the total 2,300 units, be set aside for affordable housing for various income levels, according to the city.
Mr. de Blasio touted the agreement as adding 110,000 square feet of affordable housing beyond the developer's current application, under which just 427,000 square feet of such housing would have been built. And while that is true, Two Trees had already agreed throughout the project's public review process to build roughly 70,000 additional square feet if the city would chip in extra subsidy, though this agreement was non-binding.
Wow, so the developer agreed to 40 more units of affordable housing? That's not like putting a bandaid on a sucking chest wound or anything. Either stipulate that the majority of new units need to be affordable, or don't make any affordable. A little here and a little there, when most people living in the city need "affordable housing", is pretty lame, even though it will be trumpeted as a victory.
All this soul-selling to preserve the Domino building, which will be dwarfed by other buildings after this project is complete. If the City Council passes it, which is still a question mark.