Iconic yellow ‘Domino Sugar’ sign returns to Brooklyn

An iconic sign that was part of the Brooklyn skyline for nearly a century has been reinstalled. This week, a replica of the 40-foot Domino Sugar sign was installed and fully illuminated atop the Domino Sugar Refinery building in Williamsburg, which was part of a massive sugar factory that operated from the 1880s to the early 2000s. The landmarked 19th-century building is currently being transformed into a modern commercial building at the 11-acre Domino Sugar redevelopment.

Rendering courtesy of Two Trees Management Pinterest

The Domino Sugar Factory opened in the late 1880s and grew to become one of the world’s largest refineries, producing more than 5,000 barrels of sugar per day and employing over 4,500 people during its peak. The plant closed in 2004, and after Two Trees Management’s redevelopment plans were approved, work on the site began in 2014.

While the majority of the site was demolished during construction, the landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery building designed by Henry Havemeyer is currently undergoing adaptive reuse under the direction of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. The one-of-a-kind development includes a new 15-story glass building with 460,000 square feet of office space set within the historic structure’s brick facade.

The Refinery at Domino office building will feature a glass dome penthouse that rises above the Domino Sugar sign. The Refinery at Domino, which is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2023, will provide tenants with an amenity floor that includes open workspaces, private conference rooms, an indoor vertical garden, a dedicated bike lobby, and a fitness club with a pool.

Domino Sugar projects that have been completed include a 16-story rental at 325 Kent Avenue, which opened in 2017, a six-acre green space called Domino Park, a rental tower called One South First, and an office building called Ten Grand Street.

Photo by Wes Tarca Pinterest

According to a spokesperson, Two Trees worked with “signage specialists” to analyze the original sign and create a replica that is as close to the original as possible.

The sign is not neon, as was the original, but rather LED, which is brighter and more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, because aluminum is lighter, it is safer to top the new glass building. The yellow letters were designed to be the same size as the originals, with “Domino” standing about 23 feet tall and “Sugar” standing nearly 10 feet. The height of the S from top to bottom is just over 43 feet, and the width is 65 feet 8 inches.

Photo by Wes Tarca Pinterest
Photo of the sign installation in progress Pinterest

“It’s exciting to have a sign back,” Ward Dennis, a Domino Sugar Factory historian and former member of the local community board, told the New York Times. “Everyone who drives up and down FDR Drive remembers seeing it. When you crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, there was always that Domino’s sign to greet you.”

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