After a long battle, it looks like Queens’ famous graffiti-tagged 5 Pointz building might officially be done for. This week, the City Council approved a plan to replace the long-abandoned warehouse turned hip-hop art house on Jackson Avenue with two condominium towers. The Long Island City site has been a point of controversy since owner Jerry Wolkoff and his son David began filing for a permit to demolish the old building and construct new 41- and 47-story residential towers.
G & M Realty, the developer of the new towers, says the addition will increase the number of affordable housing units in LIC from 75 to 210. The applicant also promises to build over 32,000 square feet of new public parks with 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 250 space public parking garage. The project leaders also say they will hire a construction crew of 100% union workers and when finished, the complex will supposedly add more than 1,000 new jobs in Long Island City.
The property in question has been wrapped up in controversy for years. On one side, community artists have arguedthat the building is a historic and culturally important landmark for the neighborhood. They also contested that the new development would gentrify the area and rob it of its cultural significance. The two Wolkoffs who own the building, meanwhile, cite that the building is falling to shambles and is only really known for its exterior.
The resident artists aren’t completely out on the street, assuming G & M Realty keeps to its promises. The realty company said it will increase the amount of artists’ studios and gallery spaces to 12,000 square feet and offer them for “reasonable rents.” G & M Realty also agreed to offer 5 Pointz gallery curator Jonathan Cohen (Meres) the chance to use 10,000 square feet of art panels and walls in the new building as his canvas to curate art.
Top Image © 5 Pointz Facebook