A group of Brooklyn artists are calling on a developer to change its plans for the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, pushing for the creation of a cultural complex similar to London's Tate Modern art museum.
The development company, Community Preservation Corporation Resources, is planning an expansive 2,400-unit complex of housing at the Brooklyn site, a series of apartment towers that would surround the giant red brick factory. The proposal, which has its first public hearing tonight, has attracted the attention of preservationists, who last month successfully fought to give the one-time sugar refinery a protective landmark designation.
As the developer pushes forward with the public approval process, a group of artists are scrambling to apply the brakes on the project, proposing an alternative that would turn the former factory into a museum.
"I look at this place and I say ‘Tate Modern, Tate Modern, Tate Modern,'" a Brooklyn-based artist, Greg Stone, said, referring to an initiative that transformed a former power plant in London into a successful modern art museum.
In recent weeks, Mr. Stone, other local artists, and the owner of Williamsburg's Pierogi art gallery, Joseph Amrhein, have pushed the idea among fellows in the art community, developers, and politicians in an effort to gain support for the concept. Pointing to a study that concludes that the Tate Modern has created hundreds of jobs and garners more than $200 million a year in economic benefits, Mr. Stone claims that a comparable facility in Brooklyn could reap similar benefits.
But the road to reality from dream could be a long one for the artists, who have not proposed any funding source or existing organization as an anchor tenant for the complex.
The developers who own the 11-acre site already have plans to gut the interior of the factory and replace it with apartments and possibly some community facility space.
"We believe that the adaptive use that makes the most sense is residential," a spokesman for Community Preservation Corporation Resources, Lloyd Kaplan, said in dismissing the idea for a museum.
The development company's proposal requires approval by the City Council and the City Planning Commission.