To some residents of Williamsburg, the news that the Domino Sugar Plant had been saved from destruction (unlike much of the rest of the Brooklyn waterfront) by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in late June just wasn't good enough. They still find it an abomination that the plant will become yet another residential palace, christened "The New Domino" by developers CPC Resources and Isaac Katan, and set to include some 2,200 apartments, 660 of those characterized as "affordable housing," which, in this market, could (and does) mean anything.
So, what do these malcontents want? Oh, art, culture, something that gives back to the community as opposed to stuffing one individual's pockets—that sort of stuff. Lost City has gotten wind that a group of prominent Billyburg arts leaders are trying to stir up support for a plan which would transform the Domino Plant into a world-class art center, a la The Tate Modern in London (below).
One has to say, on the surface, the plan makes some sense. It's kind of a no-brainer, actually. The Tate and old Domino have a lot in common. The Tate was created out of an old abandoned, hulking old power station sitting in the East End right across the Thames from central London, just as the Domino building stares at Manhattan from across the East River. (Leave it to an artists' community to notice these parallels.) As to what such a plan could bring to Gotham, well, the Tate Modern has far exceeded expectations as far as attendance since it opened in 2000; it was at one time the third more popular tourist attraction in London. Which, of course, means pots of cash for the city.
The pushers of this plan see the Domino as hosting rotating exhibitions of private collections, art fairs, traveling international exhibitions, and imagine it being serviced by a water taxis (just like Fairway!), restaurants and a pretty little promenade. (Hey, how about building our own Millinneum Bridge from Manhattan to get there?)
Not such a wild dream. Hard to see it happening without a big fight. And, after all, CPC and Katan owns the joint and ain't likely to let it go. But I, for one, would like to see someone give them a run for his money.