After receiving harsh disapproval from the Long Island City community, the developers who plan to turn the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz into two high-rise apartment buildings have decided to make changes to their proposal.
According to Joseph Conley, chair of Community Board (CB) 2, G&M Realty’s plan has been altered to include about 78 affordable housing units, an addition of 10,000 square feet to the initial 2,000 square feet planned for artists’ studios and community use of the parking garage for below-market rates.
Conley said the changes came after Jerry Wolkoff, whose family has owned the property for the past 40 years, heard of the community’s vociferous objections to the initial plan.
The new plan also includes the installation of art panels on the street to continue to display artists’ works. There will also be a program to curate the works and establish a community advisory group to work with CB 2 before, during and after construction.
“He wanted to make sure, before he moves forward, that he came back and met with a group of people to talk about how he could reestablish connections and solidify connection with the community he’s been a part of for 40 years,” said Conley. “The important part is that it shows his concern about the community.”
The Wolkoffs intend to demolish the graffiti-covered warehouse on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street and construct two apartment towers there. One would reach 47 stories and the other 41 stories, with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 30,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.
CB 2 voted against the owners’ land use application in June. However, constructing the towers is within their rights. The Wolkoffs are continuing their application to the Department of City Planning to build to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.
“Our vote does not change,” said Conley. “It’s not a question that he will do a bait-and-switch. He will be obligated to [do] what he said as he goes forward. Mr. Wolkoff immediately made the changes without hesitations. It expresses his willingness to work with the community.”
David Wolkoff previously told The Courier that his family has and will continue to listen to what the community has to say.
“We had always taken into consideration what the community wants,” he said.
However, according to Marie Cecile Flageul, a spokesperson for 5Pointz and an event planner, artists were not consulted in the recent changes to the Wolkoffs’ proposal.
“5Pointz is not included in the plan,” said Flageul. “The extra space will not be given to any of the 5Pointz collective. We wished the community board would have consulted us before saying the changes are satisfactory.”
On Wednesday, July 17 Borough President Helen Marshall announced she approved the Wolkoffs’ land use application.
The application will be reviewed by the City Planning Commission, the City Council and finally the mayor.