Today’s news:

Pol sour on Domino Sugar plant proposal

The proposed development at the former Domino Sugar plant would include four towers over 30 stories high.
The Brooklyn Paper

A local lawmaker has opened a new front against the proposed Domino Sugar mega-project, demanding that the developers behind the glassy waterfront high-rises open their books so that he can independently assess the project’s finances.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg) told The Brooklyn Paper that he can not support the $1.2-billion, 2,200-unit project until the developer justifies the need for two 30-story and two 40-story towers.

“If we’re going to have a project of that magnitude, I really want to see the facts and the figures that require them to build that high and that dense,” Lentol said.

The developer, Community Preservation Corporation Resources, maintains that it needs to build skyscrapers to fund the preservation of iconic refinery buildings and to build open space and 660 units of low-and middle-income housing.

A spokesman for the company, Richard Edmonds, pointed out that CPC’s affordable housing promises are far more generous than other developers. Under the current proposal, 100 rentals are reserved for families making just $21,000 per year, 330 rentals for families making up to $40,000 per year, 100-rentals for seniors who earn less than half of the area’s median income, and 130 for-sale units for families making up to $90,000 per year.

“We’re not like other developers,” said Edmonds. “Not only are we providing more units of affordable housing [than other developments], but the units themselves will be more affordable.”

But Lentol — who supported the much-larger Atlantic Yards project in low-rise Prospect Heights, despite its less-generous affordable housing component — won’t back Domino until he can eye the dollars.

“If they want us to continue to give them the benefit of the doubt, they need to make the financials transparent,” said Amy Cleary, a spokeswoman for Lentol. “They keep saying, ‘We’re making very little money,’ but they’re not showing us that.”

Edmonds said Lentol is asking the impossible.

“Show me any developer who divulges his finances,” Edmonds said. “If people ask, ‘Why should we believe CPC?’ they should look at CPC’s track record. We’ve lent more than $7 billion to finance 150,000 units of affordable housing over a 33-year period.”

Lentol’s public complaints about the plan are just the latest setback for Domino — which seemed like a slam dunk only months ago because of its affordable housing promise.

In March, the Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled out a five-story, 78-foot, glass addition atop the landmark Filter House, forcing architects to come up with a new proposal.

Then, last month, CPC filed paperwork that called for a hotel on the site — though Edmonds says there are no such plans.

Lentol wasn’t buying it. The assemblyman said the rumored hotel was key in his call for greater transparency.

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DC from Bushwick says:
Wow, what happened to good taste in architecture?
June 5, 2008, 3:18 pm

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