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All renderings via Field Operations and Bjarke Ingels Group for Two Trees Management All renderings via Field Operations and Bjarke Ingels Group for Two Trees Management
The Williamsburg waterfront has seen increased activity in recent years, and the River Ring Waterfront Master Plan is set to transform a key section of the neighborhood's shoreline. In late 2019, Con Edison sold a 3.2 acre assemblage at One River Street, previously the home of a fuel storage complex, to Two Trees Management for $150 million. An ambitious plan by designers at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations ("Field Operations") was revealed shortly thereafter, but public information sessions halted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Brooklyn Paper reports that the project is back on and preparing for the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
Renderings from BIG and Field Operations show two towers located on a triangular podium and oriented to limit view obstruction from the neighborhood. The tower on the south side will measure 710 feet (up slightly from its first proposed height of 650 feet), and the north tower will measure 560 feet (down from the original 600). Between the two towers, there will be a total of 1,050 new units coming to the neighborhood, including 263 permanently affordable units. 237 of the affordable units have been earmarked for those earning 60 percent of the area median income, and 27 of which have been designated permanently affordable to households earning 40 percent of the area media income.
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In addition to maximizing views, the angle of the buildings creates a natural entrance to a 2.9-acre public park that features two sandy beaches and esplanades around an extra three acres of sheltered water space. The park will feature an amphitheater, tidal pools, a salt marsh, a fishing pier, a boating cove, and community kiosks to be used for educational/artistic installations, kayak rentals, and other aquatic activities.
In addition to the new housing and new public park, the master plan calls for new retail space, new office space, and a state-of-the-art new YMCA that could offer a pool, indoor track, and gym. Some locals have expressed resistance to the size of the buildings and the strain on the waterfront, but Brooklyn's Community Board 1 has spoken in favor of the number of affordable units and the waterfront park.
The master plan is set in a particularly vibrant and evolving section of the East River waterfront. The plan is situated a stone’s throw from Williamsburg’s NYC ferry stop at the foot of North 6th Street and just north of Two Trees' own Domino Sugar Factory site, which already has open a new park and two buildings leasing: 325 Kent Avenue and One South 1st Street. In fact, when combined with Two Trees’ Domino Park, the developer is poised to bring more than eight acres of accessible public space to the East River waterfront.
1-River-Street-7 The River Street site with Austin Nichols House to the left (CityRealty)
Manhattan skyline views View from Williamsburg to Manhattan
River-Street-03 The River Street site
Some question the wisdom of a new waterfront project when the sobering realities and devastating consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored. Climate scientists have predicted a six-foot sea level rise in the next 80 years, which would bring regular flooding and intense storm surges to New York’s shoreline. Given that the world’s leaders have failed to mobilize around climate change as yet and show no signs of changing that, this is no longer a question of if, but when.
However, the project’s developers and designers remember the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and approached this with ideas from models used in the Netherlands, which has come to grips with rising waters. It will not include walls and hard surfaces that appear to block water but ultimately accelerate storm surges. Rather, its soft edges are designed to embrace the river and take the energy out of storm surges. Berms, breakwaters, marshes, and wetlands are designed to reduce flooding and erosion risk. A new tidal basin is capable of holding four million gallons of water and designed to flood, which will mitigate damage from receding waters. An expanded shoreline with wave breaks will attenuate the impact from severe storms and create calmer waters.
A date has not been set for the official start of the ULURP application, but Two Trees principal Jed Walentas has acknowledged that the land use review process for this project could take as long as two years. Construction is estimated to take another five years, with Mr. Walentas suggesting that the park could be completed alongside the first building.

As we wait for the latest updates on the new master plan, we take a look at other recent and upcoming buildings on the neighborhoods waterfront. For the handful of residential towers that are finished, some of their apartments will offer front-row seats of the waterfront's revitalization, not to mention spectacular views of the skyline and access to some of the city's most manicured open spaces.
Williamsburg waterfront The NYC Ferry landing with Northside Piers, Level, and The Edge beyond (CityRealty)

34 North 7th Street and 22 North 6th Street
Developed by Douglaston Development | Design by Stephen B. Jacobs Group

30 stories | 565 units | Delivered in 2008

22-North-6th Street-1 All images of The Edge South Tower via Compass
22-North-6th-Street-2 The Edge South Tower via Compass
From the listing: #25L is one of the most desirable one bedroom apartments in Williamsburg's premier luxury building, The EDGE. Upon entering into this 601-square-foot apartment you are hit with unobstructed western views of Midtown Manhattan as well as the East River through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the living room. Floor to ceiling windows let light pour in, and room for a full-size dining table makes for effortless entertaining. The kitchen is outfitted with a Bosch oven and gas stovetop, modern cabinetry, microwave and dishwasher. See floor plan and full details here.
The Edge South Tower has 4 available listings from $1.098M - $1.999M.

34-North-7th-Street-01 The Edge North Tower via Douglas Elliman
From the listing: An opportunity awaits in The EDGE, the most revered condominium in stylish Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sunny southwest facing high floor corner unit with views of Manhattan and the water through its walls of floor to ceiling windows- all in a fabulous full service building. The smart and spacious 2 bed/2 bath layout features wide plank white oak floors throughout, a beautifully finished chefs kitchen with glass lacquer cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops, glass backsplashes, Miele fridge, Bosch range, and more! See floor plan and full details here.
The Edge North Tower has 3 available listings from $740K - $1.829M.

184 Kent Avenue
Developed by LIVWRK Holdings, Kushner Companies, and Rockpoint Group | Design by Cass Gilbert and Morris Adjmi Architects

7 stories | 338 units | Delivered in 2017

184-Kent-Avenue-1 All images of Austin Nichols House via Nest Seekers
184-Kent-Avenue-2 Living room
184-Kent-Avenue-3 Kitchen
184-Kent-Avenue-4 Bedroom
From the listing: Originally built in 1915, Austin Nichols House has a rich history as a grocery warehouse, a bourbon distillery, and now a waterfront condominium. This incredible two-bedroom faces north and boasts soaring beamed ceilings, herringbone oak flooring, and in-unit washer/dryer. The open chef's kitchen comes outfitted with a breakfast bar, white lacquered custom cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops, and state-of-the-art appliances. Over 30,000 square feet of residential amenities include a gym, lounge and catering kitchen, music practice rooms, Zen garden with fire pit, and landscaped courtyard and roof deck. See floor plan and full details here.
Austin Nichols House has 6 available listings from $585K - $1.45M.

440 and 446 Kent Avenue
Developed by BFC Equity Partners, L&M Equity Participants, and Allstate Realty Associates LLC | Design by Karl Fischer

25 and 15 stories | 210 units | Delivered in 2006

440-Kent-Avenue-1 (CItyRealty)
440-Kent-Avenue-2 Interiors via Compass
From the listing: Enjoy this corner unit that includes a tree top lined southwest exposure that has gone through a recently completed, high-end full renovation. No expense was spared when designing this custom chef style kitchen featuring Euromobil Italian white cabinetry and a spacious walk around island topped with a quartz waterfall countertop. Schaefer Landing North includes an array of amenities such as a brand new lobby, 24-hour concierge, state of the art fitness center, residents lounge, library and business center, private courtyard, landscaped roof deck and esplanade, a parking garage that include multiple Zipcars, bike storage and a 421A tax abatement ending in 2032. See floor plan and full details here.
Schaefer Landing North has 5 available listings from $1.195M - $1.995M.

1 Northside Piers and 164 Kent Avenue
Developed by Toll Brothers, RD Management, and L&M Development Partners | Design by FXCollaborative

29 and 30 stories | 449 units | Delivered in 2008-2009

1-Northside-Piers-1 One Northside Piers via Douglas Elliman
1-Northside-Piers-2 Interiors via The Corcoran Group
From the listing: Spectacular panoramic city and river views from this pristinely renovated corner two bed, two bath condo with epic outdoor space at 1 Northside Piers. As the largest two bedroom line in the building, 24E is 1,152 square feet with incredible Downtown Manhattan, East River and open Brooklyn views from every room. An additional 179-square-foot private balcony completes this perfect waterfront residence. See floor plan and full details here.
One Northside Piers has 2 available listings from $3,650 - $6,250/month.

Two Northside Piers has 1 available listing for $1.695M.

1 North 4th Street
Developed by Douglaston Development | Design by FXCollaborative

40 stories | 510 units | Delivered in 2014

1-North-4th-Place-1 1N4th via Clinton Management
1-North-4th-Place-1 Interiors via The Corcoran Group
From the listing: Amazing opportunity at 1N4th! Sunny and spacious one bedroom with water views. Modern kitchen with stainless appliances and marble counters. Queen-size bedroom, washer and dryer, great storage space, and high ceilings. Available fully furnished only. Luxury rental building with gym, pool & lounge. 1 North 4th Place is on the Williamsburg waterfront near restaurants, shopping, L train subway, and the East River Ferry. See floor plan and full details here.
1N4th has 3 available listings from $2,542 - $5,362/month.

2 North 6th Place
Developed by Douglaston Development | Design by Stephen B. Jacobs Group

40 stories | 554 units | Delivered in 2017

2-North-6th-Place-1 LEVEL via Clinton Management
2-North-6th-Place-2 Interiors via Douglas Elliman
2-North-6th-Place-3 Kitchen
2-North-6th-Place-4 Bedroom
Residents of LEVEL enjoyed panoramic river views from the get-go, and the recently opened North Williamsburg ferry stop proved an unexpected bounty. An impressive array of amenities includes an indoor pool with skylight and whirlpool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a lounge with game tables and catering kitchen, and concierge service. See floor plan and full details here.
LEVEL has 4 available listings from $5,200 - $7,500/month.

Developed by Two Trees Management | Design by SHoP Architect
16 stories | 522 units | Delivered in 2018

325-Kent-Avenue-1 325 Kent Avenue circa November 2019 via CityRealty
325-Kent-Avenue-2 Interiors via Two Trees
This doughnut-shaped rental is in the heart of Two Trees' transformation of the Domino Sugar Refinery site. Inside, apartments boast oversized windows looking out on spectacular city and river views. The kitchens are outfitted with Caesarstone countertops and stainless steel appliances, and an in-unit washer/dryer is especially helpful. Amenity offerings include a fitness center, lounge, fourth-floor courtyard, roof deck with grilling stations, and shuttle service to the subway. The building is offering two months free rent on select units. See floor plan and full details here.
325 Kent Avenue has 10 available listings from $2,346 - $3,598/month.

Developed by 351 Kent Realty LLC | Design by Workshop DA
6 stories | 8 units | Delivered in 2019

349-Kent-Avenue-1 Rendering of 349 Kent Avenue via Workshop DA
349-Kent-Avenue-2 Interiors via Real Street
From the listing: 349 Kent Avenue is Williamsburg’s newest boutique luxury waterfront address. Distinguished residences with unparalleled jaw-dropping views of NYC, the East River and Williamsburg Bridge. Private wraparound terraces surround each unit and elevator that opens up directly into the units. The units feature large double pane sound proof windows that flood the apartments with sunlight. Custom designed kitchens include Caesarstone counters, custom gray & wood finished cabinetry, and stainless steel Blomberg appliances including dishwasher. Every unit has a washer and dryer, hardwood oak floors, and spacious custom closets throughout. See full details here.
349 Kent Avenue has 1 available listing for $4,370/month.

Developed by Spitzer Enterprises | Design by ODA New York
22 stories | 857 units | Delivered in 2019

420-Kent-Avenue-1 All images of 420 Kent Avenue via Citi Habitats
420-Kent-Avenue-2 Interiors via The Corcoran Group
420 Kent comprises three multi-dimensional glass towers on the Williamsburg waterfront. All apartments boast enormous windows, incredible natural light, and smoky hardwood floors. The kitchens are outfitted with polished concrete Caesarstone countertops, custom Italian cabinetry, and Bosch appliance suites. Over 100,000 square feet of residential amenities include rooftop pools, spacious fitness centers, outdoor yoga pavilions, co-working lounges, dining rooms and catering kitchens, and a sunken tranquility garden, to name just a few. See floor plan and full details here.
420 Kent Avenue has 27 available listings from $1,999 - $5,700/month.

260 Kent Avenue
Developed by Two Trees Management | Design by COOKFOX

42 stories | 330 units | Delivered in 2019

260-Kent-Avenue-1 One South First circa November 2019 via CityRealty
260-Kent-Avenue-2 Interiors via Two Trees
Located in the Domino Sugar Refinery site, One South First's design was inspired by sugar crystals and designed with 3D print molds that significantly reduced waste, energy, resources, and construction time. Residents enjoy sweeping river and city views from floor-to-ceiling windows, and interiors boast open kitchens, custom closets, dimmable lighting, and in-unit washer/dryers. Amenities at this doorman building include an outdoor pool with waterfront views, a fitness center, communal work spaces, social lounges, and a roof deck with grilling stations and cabanas.
One South First has 6 available listings from $2,983-$7,329/month.

187 Kent Avenue
Developed by CW Realty Management | Design by Input Creative Group

7 stories | 96 units | Delivered in 2020

187-Kent-Avenue-1 Rendering via Input Creative Studio
187-Kent-Avenue-02 Interiors via Rentopia
The Kent House's brick facade, dramatic arches, and industrial-inspired interiors pays tribute to Williamsburg's history. However, apartments with in-unit washer/dryers, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and hardwood floors and abundant natural light throughout are aligned with the needs of today's buyer. Residential amenities include a virtual doorman, fitness center, media room, co-working lounge, game room, and outdoor terrace. Trader Joe's will be the retail tenant in the commercial building across the street.

25 Kent Avenue

Developed by Rubenstein Partners and Heritage Equity Partners | Design by Gensler Architects
8 stories | Delivered in 2019

25-Kent-Avenue-1 25 Kent Avenue via Gensler Architects
With 500,000 square feet of space, 25 Kent Avenue is Williamsburg's largest ground up office development in recent history. The building encompasses an entire city block, and staggered floors create a ziggurat-esque silhouette. All office spaces feature 15' ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, flexible floor plates, and roof decks and terraces. It has counted 29Rooms and Smorgasburg among its temporary tenants, and streetwear brand KITH has plans to relocate its Noho headquarters into the third floor of the new building.

Domino Sugar Refinery
Domino-Sugar-Refinery-01 Domino Sugar Refinery circa November 2019 via CityRealty
The iconic Domino Sugar Factory has been the cornerstone of this section of the Williamsburg waterfront for over 100 years. While its historic architecture will be carefully restored, the factory interiors are being gutted. Upon completion of the demolition, a steel and glass office will go up inside the space. But as the demolition took place, its past use was still evident - the smell of molasses is in the air, and Two Trees principal Jed Walentas noted that the walls were weeping molasses.

Bushwick Inlet Park
Bushwick-Inlet-Park-1 Aerial rendering via Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park
On the cusp of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Bushwick Inlet Park demonstrates that Domino Sugar Refinery isn't the only onetime industrial area that can be transformed into something modern, eco-friendly, and beautiful. The heavily polluted oil tanks are gone, and the site is now home to a multipurpose sports field, a playground, and an environmentally friendly community center with a green roof. Plans are in the works to build a continuous Bushwick Inlet Park, and a pop-up park at 50 Kent Avenue is part of this effort.

Rose Plaza, 480-490 Kent Avenue
470-Kent-Avenue-1 Rose Plaza site circa June 2018 via Google Earth
In 2010, the city approved a rezoning that would have allowed for a set of five residential towers to rise on the 2.3-acre Rose Plaza development site on the Williamsburg waterfront. The project hit several snags including, but not limited to, the Great Recession, the property's contamination with pollutants, and the untimely death of one of the developers. However, The Real Deal reported that Naftali Group entered contract to buy the site for a price between $180 and $185 million in February 2019, and things have picked up since then.

Permits have recently been filed for a two-tower, mixed-use development to be addressed as 480 and 490 Kent Avenue. 480 Kent Avenue will rise 225 feet and 21 stories high, and contain 182 residences and 178 parking spaces. The 22-story 490 Kent Avenue will rise 225 stories high and feature 249 units and 178 parking spaces. In addition to parking, amenities will include bike rooms, pet grooming rooms, mail/package rooms, lounges, game rooms, and roof terraces. There will also be a fitness center and outdoor pool at 480 Kent Avenue.

500 Kent Avenue
500-Kent-Avenue-01 Axonometric rendering of 500 Kent Avenue via Kent Member LLC
To the chagrin of local preservationists, a red brick building dating back to 1905 and used as a power generation system for Con Ed until 1999 was demolished in 2009. Soil remediation work has taken place, but the site has otherwise sat empty for years as the area around it blossomed. However, a partnership including Hampshire Properties acquired the site in March 2019. More recently, plans and preliminary renderings were revealed for a 23-story commercial tower with office space, retail space, an underground parking garage, and waterfront public space - what we have seen so far looks nothing like this onetime rendering (see below).

Before the project can break ground, it requires major zoning amendments; additionally, the Department of City Planning found that despite Con Ed's environmental remediation efforts, the project would still have an adverse effect on the surrounding environment. The developer is required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement for public review; if everything goes according to plan, completion is estimated for 2024.
500-Kent-Avenue-1 Rendering of 500 Kent Avenue via MOTIV Studio

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