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July 30, 2007

Some AY echoes in Williamsburg's New Domino plan (& hype)

Atlantic Yards Report

Domino.jpgWhether local activists win, lose or draw in their fight against Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards scheme, they've made it difficult for NYC to propose any large-scale redevelopment plan that doesn't draw parallels or react against the poster-project for bad urban planning.

Today Norman Oder analyzes the New Domino plan.

I can’t evaluate whether the New Domino plan is worthwhile or not—more details need to emerge, and some significant local players, among them Community Board 1 and Phil DePaolo's New York Community Council, have yet to weigh in. A public hearing on the Draft Scope, the first step to a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and potential approval of the project next year, will be held from 2 to 5 pm and 6 to 8:45 pm tomorrow at the Department of City Planning (DCP) in Lower Manhattan. (Will the room be big enough?)

But it's clear the plan deserves more scrutiny beyond the hype, especially given some parallels with the AY promotion effort.

The Mad O considers the similarities...

The New Domino would offer, like AY:

  • significant density
  • a starchitect (in this case Rafael Viñoly)
  • an emphasis on affordable housing (30 percent), requiring significant (but unstated) public subsidies
  • plans for “park space,” in the developer’s words, that’s actually “public open space,” according to DCP (4 acres)
  • a questionable solution for transit (shuttles to the distant subway, plus a water taxi)
  • endorsement by grassroots neighborhood advocates (El Puente, Churches United)
  • a fast-track plan in the summer (hearing July 31)
  • a considerable amount of parking (1450 spaces)
  • a partner-developer with a not so beloved track record (The Katan Group)

...and differences:

...besides the city review and no request for direct subsidy. AY would include no historic preservation, despite calls to save the Ward Bakery. Perhaps most notably, Refinery LLC is run by managing partner CPC Resources (CPCR), the for-profit subsidiary of Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), which has a 30-year history of financing affordable housing throughout New York.

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Posted by lumi at July 30, 2007 10:09 AM