Last week, the city’s Department of City Planning published a long list of projects certified to enter the public review ULURP process, a prelude to breaking ground on construction.
Conspicuously absent from that list was the proposed “New Domino” project, the multi−building, 2,200 mixed−used development on the site of the defunct sugar refinery between Grand and S. 5th streets.
The absence represented the latest delay for a project whose developers said in 2007 that they hoped to receive certification by early 2008. That date came and went, but the project remained uncertified.
Last October, representatives for the project’s developer, CPC Resources, revised their projection, saying they hoped to have plans certified by the end of 2008. The calendar turned over into 2009, and still The New Domino had not been certified.
In January, Michael Lappin, CEO of CPC Resources, said he hoped to begin construction by early 2010. This week, he issued a statement that seemed to modify even that timeline.
“CPC Resources continues to work closely with the Department of City Planning toward the certification of The New Domino. As we resolve the remaining issues, we look forward to certification later this year, and a planned construction start in 2010,” the statement read.
Despite a request from this reporter before it was released, Lappin’s statement did not include any information on whether developers plan to keep the ambitious scale of the project, or if they are having problems financing the project amidst the current economic crunch.
In January, Lappin expressed confidence that the $1.2 billion project will proceed forward as originally envisioned. He said the long construction timeline of the project – it is expected to take around eight years to fully complete, although portions will be open earlier – will enable developers to ride out the current soft market.
“The project is taking place over a long period of time, and our numbers reflect what we think will work over a long period of time,” he said.
“There are real estate cycles happening all the time. But there’s still a net shortage of housing in the city, and the city’s population is still growing.”
The size of the project has drawn criticism from neighborhood residents who say its scale will put a strain on the neighborhood resources and would create gentrification pressures because of its quantity of luxury housing.
Developers have countered that the development has 660 units of affordable housing, roughly 30 percent, at more affordable levels than any other on the waterfront. They claim that the amount of luxury housing is necessary to offset the costs of both the affordable housing and preservation of the landmarked refinery building at the center of the development.