The Commercial Observer has more information on the Two Trees acquisition of the Domino site, including the fact that two other major developers – The Related Companies and Silverstein Properties – were interested in the site.
The Observer seems to agree with everyone else (myself included) that Two Trees is a good fit for the site. But the paper also seems to misunderstand some of the issues that make the property so hard to develop:
Landmark protections at the sugar factory require that its main buildings, a square structure with the Domino logo on its facade and a behemoth brick property with a towering smokestack, be preserved. Those familiar with the site say that it would likely cost many millions of dollars to renovate and make them habitable. CPC also struck a deal with the city to build 30 percent of the project as affordable housing, a larger than normal percentage that people familiar with the development said cuts into the project’s profitability.
The refinery (the “behemoth brick property with a towering smokestack”) is a landmark, but the bin structure (the “square structure with the Domino logo on its facade”) is not a landmark. As part of its landmark approval for the refinery, CPCR did agree to move the (not very historic) Domino Sugar sign to the refinery. But the building that the sign is attached to is toast.
As for the affordable housing, there was no “deal” to develop 30% of the project as affordable housing. CPCR promised to do so, but significantly, neither the city nor CPCR’s community supporters thought it necessary to make that commitment binding. As I noted yesterday, there is a strong incentive for 20% affordable housing on the site, but technically, there is no requirement for any affordable housing as part of the project.