Jed Walentas says that during the year leading up to the groundbreaking and the 10 to 15 years to build the $1.5 billion office and residence tower in Williamsburg, the neighborhood can expect to see some great uses of the land until the project is completed.
Walentas is the company principal of Two Trees Management Company, which is the developer of the 11-acre site which used to be the home of the Domino Sugar Plant. He explained that he is hoping to bring a community farm, a bike course, reading room, food sellers and seasonal programming to the empty 55,000-square-foot area situated at Kent Avenue between South Third and Fourth Streets. This site is just one of five lots on which the company is planning to build their office/residence towers.
“Two Trees is committed to Williamsburg for the long haul, and we want to be able to give back to the community as we prepare to build at the Domino Sugar site” said Walentas. “The operators we’ve selected will be welcoming residents of all ages to this new public open space for biking, reading, relaxing, yoga classes, and more.”
Williamsburg resident Bobby Redd will lead the group which will design, build and operate the interim use of the land. In a previous project in 2011 Redd and his group took over temporarily a residence at 626 Bushwick Avenue. At that location they turned a 19th century vacant church into an exciting community space.
The present site will included a bike course along Kent Avenue which will have a ‘basic-skills’ training area for youngsters, novices and intermediate riders. More advanced bicyclists will get a pump track.
This area will be run by a local bike shop, “Ride Brooklyn” together with the New York City Mountain Bike Association. They will have bikes on hand, for free.
“Ride Brooklyn is excited to have this opportunity to continue our tradition of bicycle advocacy and community involvement” said Jessica Kocher, co-owner of Ride Brooklyn. “We want to give something back to the people who give us so much by making the activities we love free, and accessible, to everyone in our community!”