The Williamsburg waterfront is on its way to looking very different.

Last week, The New York City Council approved the revised River Ring proposal for the Williamsburg waterfront, ushering in a groundbreaking mixed-use development that will provide 263 residences for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, out of 1,050 new units. The project was unanimously approved by 48 Council members. Two Trees Management expects to begin construction in 2024. 

Highlights of the River Ring Waterfront Master Plan include:

  • New affordable housing, including 263 permanently affordable apartments (out of 1050 total on-site homes), which feature the same design and amenities as market rate units, available at an average of 60% AMI with some units as low as 40% AMI. 
  • More than 150 new units of affordable housing for seniors, to be built in Community Board 1 on land funded by Two Trees. 
  • A 3-acre public park to be financed and maintained by Two Trees Management, plus an additional 3 acres designated for previously unavailable in-water recreational opportunities, including kayaking, marine ecology, education, tidal wetlands and an accessible beach.
  • $100 million investment in resiliency infrastructure and open space also that protects hundreds of properties upland and up-river from River Ring.
  • A state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot YMCA facility featuring a full-service community swim program that includes free swimming lessons for second grade students in CB1.
  • 2,000 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs with a subsidized training program and local hiring, in collaboration with local workforce development partners. 
  • $1.75 million in funding for community initiatives, including a new environmental benefits fund to help retrofit neighborhood buildings and a major open space planning study of the community district to connect new and existing parks.
  • Green technology and sustainable design, including a commitment to all-electric buildings and the development of on-site wastewater treatment.
  • Ongoing meaningful dialogue with community partners to bring new access to the waterfront and support environmental justice and education.

The River Ring Waterfront Master Plan, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations (Field Operations), will 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 project is unlike almost any waterfront development proposal, and Two Trees is pioneering how we can build innovative public spaces in a way that directly confronts the impacts of climate change,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, CEO and President, Waterfront Alliance. “The project promises to transform how New Yorkers relate to water while protecting communities from rising waters using technologies that honor the local habitat, raising the bar for how we as a city can build safety and responsibly along our waterfronts.”


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