Tag Archives: G&M Realty

Demolition begins at 5Pointz


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The walls have started to come down at the Long Island City site which was once home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz.

Demolition began Friday at the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street as crews teared down the back wall with bulldozers.

Last month, Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property, said he hoped to begin demolishing the buidlings in August after initially looking to tear down the site months ago. The demolition is expected to take up to three months to finish.

Wolkoff and his company, G&M Realty, plan to build two apartment towers—one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

Jackson Ave 5

In October, the City Council approved the developer’s proposal to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight last November, only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requested the site be landmarked.

Then earlier this month, Wolkoff released a rendering of a reserved space for graffiti which will be on the new building’s exterior near a rear courtyard, and will be open to the public. However, some artists and 5Pointz supporters are skeptical of the reserved space.

“Who knows what kind of artists it’s going to attract, what’s it’s going to be like and how are they going to manage that,” said Carolina Penafiel of Local Project, a non-profit arts organization which used to be housed in 5Pointz.

Jackson Ave 8

Penafiel stopped by the former graffiti mecca to watch the early demolition and reflect on it.

“It’s sad to see that nobody was able to do anything,” she said. “It wasn’t just a building. It was 5Pointz, you know? I don’t think you could build something like this again.”

 

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5Pointz demolition expected to begin in August: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Long Island City site which once was home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz could soon be gone.

Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, said he hopes to begin demolishing the buildings in August after initially wanting to have started tearing down the site months ago, according to published reports. The demolition is expected to take up to three months to finish.

Wolkoff and his company, G&M Realty, hope to build two apartment towers—one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

In October, the City Council approved the developer’s proposal to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

Last November, Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requesting the site be landmarked.

Wolkoff previously said the towers would include about 20 artist studios and outdoor walls designated for artists.

Wolkoff did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

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Judge grants extension on 5Pointz restraining order


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

The small victories keep coming for 5Pointz.

Judge Frederick Block of the Brooklyn Federal Court granted Jonathan Cohen, curator at 5Pointz for the past 11 years, and a group of 16 other aerosol artists an extension to their initial 10 day restraining order on Monday, more than a week after they appeared before the court looking to file a lawsuit in an effort to stop the demolition of the graffiti mecca, according to Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for a group of 5Pointz artists.

A hearing for preliminary injunction is now scheduled for November 6 in which the court will review the case, said Chanes. This also means that the restraining order has been stretched until 5 p.m. on November 12.

The restraining order means the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty cannot do anything demolition related to the property. The artists will also not be allowed to put any new art up during this time.

“We’re thrilled,” said Chanes. “It’s a really positive sign.”

The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

However according to Chanes, one of the biggest concerns is the fact that the artists working spaces are expected to be in the second tower, which developers have said would only be built if there is demand.

Developers agreed with the City Council to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable ho using units from 75 to 210.

 

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Judge grants 10-day restraining order for 5Pointz


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

5Pointz has won a small battle.

Judge Frederick Block of the Brooklyn Federal Court granted Jonathan Cohen, curator at 5Pointz for the past 11 years, and a group of 16 other aerosol artists a 10-day restraining order on October 17, after they appeared before the court looking to file a lawsuit in an effort to stop the demolition of the graffiti mecca.

According to Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the 5Pointz group, the restraining order means the Wolkoff family, owners of the site on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty cannot do anything demolition related to the property for the 10 days. The artists will also not be allowed to put any new art up during this time.

“Truly it was a good result for us,” said Chanes.

The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

However, according to Chanes, one of the biggest concerns is the fact that the artists’ working spaces are expected to be in the second tower, which developers have said would only be built if there is demand.

Developers agreed with the City Council to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.

Yet, the federal lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, claims the destruction of 5Pointz, which is home to over 350 works of unique aerosol art, would result in a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which gives visual artists limited moral rights and copyright law.

Chanes said that as far as they know, this is the first case of street artists looking for legal protection of their work in the whole country.

Although a lawyer for the Wolkoffs did not return calls for comment as of press time, according to court documents, both the Wolkoffs and G&M realty are claiming the artists had a “clear oral understanding and agreement that the site was absolutely going to be redeveloped.”

The restraining order will be lifted on October 28, but during the 10 days the judge will review the facts on the case and the group hopes to put together an offer to buy the building from the Wolkoffs or come up with an alternative plan.

 

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Artists file suit to keep 5Pointz


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

The fight is not over for 5Pointz.

Jonathan Cohen, curator at 5Pointz for the past 11 years, and a group of 16 other aerosol artists announced they are filing a lawsuit in an effort to stop the demolition of the graffiti mecca.

The announcement came a day after the City Council voted on October 9 to approve the land use application that would allow the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

One tower would reach 47 stories and the other 41 stories, with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

Developers agreed with the City Council to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.

Yet the federal lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, claims the destruction of 5Pointz, which is home to over 350 works of unique aerosol art, would result in a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which gives visual artists limited moral rights and copyright law.

“It’s about respecting and preserving artists’ rights, integrity and reputation,” said Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the artists.

According to the complaint, in or around 2002, Cohen and Gerald Wolkoff agreed that the trained artist would take over as the volunteer curator of the aerosol art program at 5Pointz. Cohen was given full authority to control what works could be painted on the building, making sure none were political, religious or contained pornography.

“Plaintiffs’ honor and reputation as artists will be damaged if defendants act on their stated intentions to raze 5Pointz,” says the complaint. “Plaintiffs’ works of visual art have been incorporated in and made part of 5Pointz in such a way that removing the works of visual art, or any part thereof, from 5Pointz would cause their destruction, distortion, mutilation or modification.”

Chanes said the group hopes the lawsuit will prevent the demolition of the building and through fundraising they hope to raise the money to purchase the property and preserve and improve it to keep it as a part of the community.

“Over the last two decades, 5Pointz has become a Long Island City landmark, and has been feature in countless films, television programs, music videos and commercial photo shoots,” says the complaint.

Although the artists have until December 1 to leave the property, Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson, previously told The Courier business will continue as usual with artists from around the world currently putting up their work and more making the trip to the borough.

A hearing is scheduled in Brooklyn Federal court on Thursday.

G&M Realty and the Wolkoffs did not respond for comment as of press time.

 

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5Pointz to become apartment complex after final vote


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Developers have reached the final step in seeing the Long Island City graffiti mecca, known as 5Pointz, become two apartment towers.

The City Council voted on Wednesday, October 9 to approve the land use application that would allow the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

One tower would reach 47 stories and the other 41 stories, with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

According to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, developers agreed to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.

“The concessions provided under the compromise will give Western Queens residents as well as artists a wide variety of interactive amenities future generations will benefit from,” said Van Bramer.

As a “commitment to the arts in this building,” Van Bramer said the developers agreed to keep the altered plans they made in July after listening to comments from Community Board 2, which voted against the application.

G&M Realty’s plan will now include an addition of 10,000 square feet to the initial 2,000 square feet planned for artists’ studios. Borough President Helen Marshall approved the application in July.

Van Bramer said the Wolkoffs have also given a written agreement to offer Jonathan Cohen, widely known as Meres and curator of 5Pointz, the chance to select art on the new building’s walls and panels.

“It was important for me to honor the history of the building over the last 20 years and to recognize what it had become to the graffiti and aerosol art world,” said Van Bramer.

However, according to Marie Cecile Flageul, 5Pointz artists are furious a second hearing, previously promised by Van Bramer, never happened and although 40 speakers stood up to speak at the October 2 public hearing, no one really listened.

“It was a beautiful horse and pony show,” said Flageul. “About half way through the testimonies, almost every council person had left the room. Every single person that took the day off to come and speak, wasted their time because there has been no follow up.”

Flageul also said to date no 5Pointz artists have been contacted or offered to work within the art studios or be featured on the art panels. There have also been no commitments in writing stating everything promised would actually take place once the towers come up.

“[The artists] feel disrespected, they feel profiled,” said Flageul. “We’re all volunteers. We all work our butts off.”
Although the artists have until December 1 to leave the property, Flageul said business will continue as usual with artists from around the world currently putting up their work and more making the trip to the borough.

“We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. That’s the beauty of art, no matter how much corruption or unfairness there might be, right now we’re continuing what we have been doing for 11 years. We are going to continue the beautification of Long Island City,” said Flageul. “We’re never making the move. We’re here till the end.”

City Planning Commission approves 5Pointz land use application


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

5Pointz, the graffiti covered warehouses in Long Island City, are one step closer to becoming two high-rise apartment buildings.

On Wednesday the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the land use application that would allow the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

One tower 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.

In July, the developers altered the initial plan after listening to comments from Community Board 2 (CB2). G&M Realty’s plan includes 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.

The 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.

CB 2 voted against the owners’ land use application in June. However, constructing the towers is within their rights.

In July, Borough President Helen Marshall announced she approved the Wolkoff’s land use application.

The application still needs to be approved by the City Council, followed by the mayor.

“Once City Planning delivers the application to the New York City Council, which we anticipate to be sometime next week, I will call the matter up,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “By calling it up we will trigger a 50 day window in which the City Council must vote on this application. Once this happens there will be two public City Council hearings at which the public will be invited to comment and testify. I will review the application at City Planning’s recommendation.”

Van Bramer said he will take part in the public meetings and also meet with stakeholders to make the decision based on what he believes “is best for Long Island City.”

 

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Developers change 5Pointz plans, BP approves application


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

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.

 

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