Towers and a Beach for Williamsburg's Waterfront

All renderings by James Corner Field Operations and BIG, courtesy of Two Trees Management

All renderings by James Corner Field Operations and BIG, courtesy of Two Trees Management

These gigantic towers designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) are planned for Williamsburg's waterfront just north of the Domino Sugar Factory development. At 600 and 650 feet tall, these two towers will house a thousand units of housing surrounded by six acres of public space with a park and beach. Previously home to Con Ed, the site runs along the East River just north of the Williamsburg Bridge between North 1st and North 3rd Streets.

The developer, Two Trees, is requesting a rezoning and will likely include a YMCA, community-oriented retail, office space, and 250 units of affordable housing. The developer recently purchased the 3.5-acre site from Con Edison for $350 million.

Jutting out into the East River, two jetties will offer nature trails while protecting the cove and beach encircled by a pier. The park entrance will be strategically located at the foot of Metropolitan Avenue, which will be anchored by the two towers allowing for an extended view plane down Metropolitan. The park would also unify Grand Ferry Park with North Fifth Park.

BIG, who is also leading the BIG U/East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, and has submitted an exiting plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, has also incorporated resiliency and flood mitigation elements into the project, including wetlands, berms, and marshes that help absorb flooding during storm surges.

The beach, community boating, and outdoor "tidal classroom" featured in the proposal are a step in the right direction for Williamsburg's waterfront, which has been overburdened with new luxury residential towers over the past decade. While it features two 600+ foot residential towers, the project seeks to give the waterfront back to the public, something we at NYC Urbanism advocate for.