Opposition to Two Trees’ Domino Sugar conversion cools

From left: A rendering of the Domino project (credit: SHoP) and Jed Walentas
From left: A rendering of the Domino project (credit: SHoP) and Jed Walentas

If Two Trees doesn’t do it, somebody else will. So goes the shoulder-shrugging resignation that has come to dominate the debate over the developer’s proposed $1.5 billion conversion of the former Domino Sugar refinery into residential towers with affordable and market-rate units.

Public opposition, which reached a fever pitch on the steps of City Hall in 2010, has turned lukewarm. The proposal includes an agreement to construct affordable housing units and a public park in the area — perks Two Trees’ Jed Walentas told the New York Times aren’t possible without market-rate units.

“We’re making a very, very, very large social contribution, and we think those things are the right thing to do for the neighborhood,” he told the Times. “The density is, at the end of the day, what pays for all of it.”

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Concerns also abound as to whether the development will segregate the affordable units in a separate building or area. Around one-third of the 660 affordable housing units will be in the first tower to be constructed, located farther from the water than the others, but Two Trees has vowed to sprinkle the rest throughout the development.

“We think that it is as close as we can get to responsible development in our neighborhood,” Rob Solano, the executive director of Churches United for Fair Housing, told the Times. [NYT]Julie Strickland