Foes say that developer will get fat on Domino sugar

A new report indicates that the developers of the Domino Sugar refinery will make hundreds of millions on their project.
The Brooklyn Paper
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The developers of the defunct Domino Sugar factory slammed a secret city report that revealed this week that they stand to make more than $400 million from the project.

The 2006 report, conducted by city without the knowledge of Community Preservation Corporation Resources, estimated that a 2,200- to 2,400-unit complex could rake in $382 million to $447 million in pure profit — even with the promised 30 percent below-market rate units that have given the project most of its political backing.

“It’s wrong,” said Susan Pollock, vice president of the development company. “It’s wrong as to construction costs, sales prices, market price, fixed cost, land and pre-development costs, taxes and finance costs.

“There is absolutely no resemblance to the project we are proposing [and the report],” she added.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development Deputy Commissioner Holly Leicht added that the report’s “purely hypothetical” revenue projections were based on prices at the height of the real-estate boom.

The report was not based on the “actual development program, [but only] to determine if the project was viable if the refinery was landmarked,” she added.

But such facts aren’t preventing opponents of the Domino project from seizing on the report as evidence that the developers are lying when they say they need to build such a big complex to make enough money to provide the public benefit of the lower-cost units.

“Now we know [that] this project does not have to be nearly this dense to cover the affordable housing,” said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg). “The argument that they will be making less because of the recession is crap! Just crap.”

The $1.2-billion development is being evaluated by the City Planning Commission this month before it will be voted on by Council this summer.

Councilman Steve Levin (D-Williamsburg) declined to comment on the city report, but remains opposed to the current proposal and is seeking a reduction of 600 units while maintaining the same number of below-market rate units at 660. That would put the affordable housing set-aside at just over 40 percent.

Pollock argued that the revision is not financially viable because the market rate units support the construction of below-market rate units, along with subsidies from the city.

“People are not questioning whether we have the experience to develop, they’re questioning our profit,” she said. “Our goal isn’t to rape Williamsburg by making a profit. Our goal is to develop and finance affordable housing.”

Pollack declined to say how much profit the company is expecting to make from the project.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to clarify Pollock's last quotation.
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Reasonable discourse

Dav from Greenpoint says:
Foes say that developer will get fat on Domino sugar.. so get sweet'N Low....

who cares? as long 30% affordable housing will be provide for all of us we should not complain!!! we all suuport this project. So, Get Hip & Get Fit... and Have Fun!
May 6, 2010, 12:39 pm
Dan from Greenpoint says:
Councilman Steve Levin (D-Williamsburg) declined to comment on the city report, but remains opposed to the current proposal ….
It’s about time this freshman Steve Levin shout stop playing politics. (He is trying) and do some goods for his district.
We need affordable housing!! This big Domino project will give opportunity for everybody to get some relive and become a nice environment…

Levine don’t you relies that relocation is around the corner? I am sure you are learning day by day, it’s already too late; home work should be done long time,
The way it’s been going docent look to good this project will be approved big time as long the mayor Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz are going for that’s a very big support,
And accomplishment…. Just get together and stop being a puppet from your former boss Vito Lopez and start acting like an independent person and showing that your are the peoples man……..
May 6, 2010, 3:32 pm
The candidate from Williamsburg says:
WOW, I just don't believe that Joe Lentol used this language or maybe he did since he now has Vito Lopez support (didn't have it last week) so he is comfortable to shoot his mouth off.

Now Joe, since you are the Assemblyman in the Domino Plan, Rose Plaza, Schaefer Landing, The Edge and ZaaZaa, why was it always Vito shooting his mouth off and not you, as for the second part, do you have any idea of how much funds CPC financed for affordable housing as well as for condo owners at Park and Classon Ave. all done via Niederman.

May 6, 2010, 10:22 pm
The candidate from Williamsburg says:
And since we are at Niederman, here is information that might shock some of you.
The reason why the UJO and the Niederman mob didn't oppose Domino in the same fashion as they opposed Rose Plaza, is because Niederman reached out for help to CPC to help finance Dumsy (Kent and South 8) which is in big financial trouble since the original owner C.L. passed away, and is stuck at the foundation.

Niederman committed himself to the developer that he will get finances, CPC has so far not proceeded with the funds and hope they will not.

Niederman and the UJO also got a building 293-301 Hooper St. from CL that is total affordable (not a single Jewish resident) so the owner can build on 250 North 10 without giving any affordable units to the community. How much money is UJO making and where does the money go, I don't know about you, BUT something fishy smells here.

May 6, 2010, 10:23 pm
Nechama from Williamsburg says:
HPD gave to the UJO a building located at 500 Bedford Ave Brooklyn NY Block: 2168 Lot: 37 this building is the former residence of the grand rebbi of satmar on the corner of Clymer st and Bedford ave. On 1/30/2002 HPD in conjuction with Landmarks allocated and funded $512,000 that was provided for the UJO and David neiderman to rehab the property . Today almost 8 years latter not a dime has been spent on the property the building is falling apart its a risk for the public to walk near the property today and the $512,000 is gone . This is scandal, tax payer money has vanished , i have on numerous occasions contaced the UJO on where this money went? only to be told to go fly a kite. Its public information and its recorded on city acris that $512,000 was provided to the UJO . We are all asking where is the $512,000 now?
May 7, 2010, 8:05 am
Charles from PS says:
I would like to know how the new influx of people from this project are going to all fit on the Beford L-train platform? This project will cost the taxpayers more than any benefit for people who currently do not live in the area. Wake up middle class ... you are being pushed onto the tracks.
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May 11, 2010, 9:26 pm
Andre Soleil from Williamsburg says:
There seems to be a great public aversion to the idea that developers may earn large profits. Isn't the lure of "large profit" what draws creative people with money to finance such ideas? Don't we want blighted areas developed? I believe that the answers to these questions are "YES."
I live on Kent Avenue, almost directly across from the development site. It is ugly, blighted and in need of development. I see it everyday.
I have never been opposed to a creative developer's attack on blight, and I could care less about a developer’s potential for profit. What I care about is the positive and uplifting inclusion of the present community in a developers' plan. I am against gentrification that “moves out” poor people without any opportunity for them to “move up.”
The 30% "affordable" housing unit benefit is sufficient to elicit my support (depending on the qualification process and definition of 'affordable'); and almost anything is better than what was/is there - a blighted eyesore obstructing the grand East River that provides NOTHING to the community that it is in.
It is as much of a "hole in the ground" as the hole at Atlantic and Flatbush (aka "Atlantic Yards").
As some may know, in I was the Chairman of the Community Benefits Committee (“CBC”) regarding the Atlantic Yards Development in 2006. Then, I lived in Clinton Hill, and I wrote a large part of the Community Benefits Agreement ("CBA"). I later angered ForestCityRatner because I called the whole process a 'waste of time' because the CBA was legally unenforceable.
The ForrestCityRatner's Atlantic Yards CBA antics were just P.R. farce. When I exposed that the CBA lacked enforceability, ForrestCityRatner's paid-off community leaders dismissed me from the CBC but went forward with signing the CBA that I led in drafting. Ironic huh?
So I question only whether this 30% commitment is true and enforceable, not whether it is good. Are there mechanisms in place to assure that the community benefits from the developer's vision? If so, let the developer earn whatever profit the market will bear and let the community benefit by inclusion through affordable housing.
There are certain laws (i.e.: J-51, etc.) that are enforceable regarding housing affordability. Sadly, there isn’t any law that would make a CBA enforceable – there otta be a law; let’s make one.
Andre Ramon Soleil, Esq.
May 25, 2010, 7:46 pm
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