First Look: Inside the Domino Sugar Factory Site's Sweet Transition

The Domino Sugar factory is one of the most iconic buildings on the city's waterfront-- and a throwback to when Brooklyn was the sugar producing capital of the world. As the site gets a makeover, some of that history is being preserved. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez got an exclusive look peek at what's being saved:.

The Domino Sugar factory, a city landmark, shuttered in 2004 and is now being converted to housing and office space. But its history is not lost. 

Developer Two Trees has salvaged artifacts from the factory's industrial past to incorporate into the sprawling new development. 

"There were 27 buildings that made up the old Dominos sugar refinery complex and we did an exhaustive search through all the buildings to find historic material that we thought should be preserved," says David Lombino, managing director of Two Trees Management.   

Like four, 80 foot-tall metal silos that once were syrup tanks. They now stand in what will become Domino Park -- a six-acre public space along the East River. The park is designed by the same landscape architects who transformed another industrial relic into an urban oasis--- Mahattan's Highline.   

"I started to look around and tag things and one of the biggest pieces that we decided to salvage was the raw sugar warehouse columns," says Lisa Switkin, of James Corner Field Operations, an urban design and landscape architecture firm.

Those columns now stand in the northern section of the park, like some modern-day ruins. They will support an elevated catwalk anchored by actual cranes -- allowing the public to walk around the machinery once used to unload raw sugar cane shippedto Brooklyn  from the Caribbean. 

"We actually salvaged a lot of the old signage that was in the factory  which was very specific like---look out for molasses, look out for syrup tanks, these types of things and so there will be some intrepretive signage," Switkin says.

The factory's famous Domino Sugar sign is in storage and will be displayed, too.

The park will be the second component of the re-imagined Domino site to open. The first will a building with 500 apartments, welcoming residents this summer. 

The entire development will span 11 acres and include 2,300 apartments, commercial space, a school and the park -- a quarter-mile long and built atop a concrete deck. 

"The finished elevation is 5 to 8 feet above what you see right now. So there's a lot of soil coming in here," says Ben Catanzaro, a project manager with Two Trees Management.

Soil sprinkled with sweet history. 

The park is to be completed next year. 

 

Charter Spectrum customers get full access
to all our video, including our live stream.
 

Tune to Spectrum New NY1 on TV, online, online, or on Local On Demand Channel 1020 for:

Road to City Hall, Mon.-Fri. at 7pm and 10pm
In Focus with Cheryl Wills, Sun. at 10:30am & 3:30pm
• On Stage, Sat.-Sun. 9:30am & 7:30pm + Tues. 12:30am
Sports on 1, nightly at 11:35pm and 4am