Today, the NYC Council will be discussing various land use proposals—including one that involves the beloved Queens graffiti mecca, 5 Pointz. And at this point it seems likely that the warehouse will be demolished to make way for luxury apartments.
The NY Times explains that last week the owners of the buildings, the Wolkoff family, "agreed to set aside additional space for affordable housing and artists’ studios with the hope of winning approval for the $400 million project. Those concessions came after negotiations with the local community board and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat from Queens, over the proposed towers, which would be among the tallest in Queens." One would be 41 stories, the other 47 stories.
The Wolkoffs agreed to increase the number of affordable apartments to 210, from 75, and to include 12,000 square feet for artists’ studios, up from 2,200 square feet. If approved, the project would also include open space and allow artists to paint several walls. Because one of the towers, planned as 47 stories, is higher than current zoning permits, the owners had to go through the city’s land-use approval process.
The Wolkoffs’ decision to nearly triple the number of affordable housing units was not purely altruistic. To qualify for tax-free financing, developers must earmark one-fifth of the units in a project for low- and moderate-income tenants.
The concessions have appeased Community Board 2 (which previously opposed it) and Van Bramer said, "The truth is there was not a way to save the building. The building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building
Jerry Wolkoff said earlier this year to WNYC, "I made something special with the 5pointz — not me, but the artists. I created it, a vision, and we’re going to do something special on these buildings, something special by the time we're finished with it."
Last week, when a council meeting was scheduled about the development, graffiti artist Meres pleaded for 5 Pointz supporters to show up, "Whens the last time u stood up for something that meant something..now u can..this is our art..our culture..lets show how relevant we are."