WATCH: Here’s what Two Trees has planned for its Williamsburg “River Ring” site

Developer is facing massive pushback on the project, which needs a rezoning

New York /
Jun.June 07, 2021 08:00 AM

Two Trees Management has ambitious plans for its Williamsburg waterfront site.

Its “River Ring” project would feature two twisting towers designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, with 1,050 housing units, a public beach, tide pools, a park, a YMCA with an Olympic-sized pool, an onsite wastewater treatment plant and a microgrid energy system along the East River.

The only problem: The developer has to go through the city’s intensive land use process in order to upzone the area from industrial to residential. That process is supposed to begin this summer.

Two Trees, best known for developing much of Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, is attempting to get the project through land use by the end of the current administration. The area’s local City Councilmember Stephen Levin will step down later this year because of term limits, and all eight mayoral candidates have signed petitions against the project.

Opponents argue the Williamsburg towers will cause gentrification and put added pressure on the city’s infrastructure.

The project would include about 300 units of affordable housing. Two Trees says the project will be completed in five years and be self funded, similar to its Domino Park project in Williamsburg.

Two Trees bought the property from Con Edison for about $150 million in 2019. The development group has threatened to sell the site if the rezoning isn’t passed, and said that the most likely buyer would be an industrial firm seeking a last-mile facility.

Video by Brett Miller and Hannah Kramer.


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