After more than two years of ongoing conversations with residents, stakeholders, and entrepreneurs, the New York City Council has finally approved the River Ring master plan of the Williamsburg waterfront project. The revised proposal, developed by Two Trees Management with designs by Bjarke Ingels Group and James Corner Field Operations, includes more than 150 additional units of affordable senior housing, an environmental benefits fund, and dedicated YMCA community space "to enhance the connectivity of the public waterfront, reinstate natural habitats, elevate the standard for urban waterfront resiliency, and transform the way New Yorkers interact with the East River".
The River Ring Plan features approximately 3 acres of public open space and another 3 acres of protected in-water access, Combined with the adjacent Domino Park, the masterplan delivers more than 8 acres above the required amount of accessible waterfront public space along the East River waterfront in Williamsburg. The site features two gently sloping, mixed-income residential buildings designed by BIG, built around an open space designed by Field Operations. The project’s public and community spaces introduce a first-of-its-kind protected public beach and in-water areas for residents to enjoy an array of aquatic activities.
Out of 1,050 new units, the mixed-use development will provide 263 residences for low and middle-income New York residents, and will be anchored by a waterfront park in North Brooklyn. A 3-acre public park will sit adjacent to the waterfront, along with an additional 3 acres designated for in-water recreational activities and facilities, such as kayaking, marine ecology, tidal wetlands, and an accessible beach. The infrastructure will also undergo a $100 million investment to maintain hundreds of properties upland.
As for the community, a 50,000 square foot YMCA facility will be implemented, along with 2,000 construction jobs opportunities and more than 500 permanent jobs with a subsidized training program and local hiring. In terms of ecology, the project will feature all-electric buildings and a development of on-site wastewater treatment.
After receiving unanimous approval from the city council, the project is expected to begin construction in 2024.