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April 26, 2013

Graffiti Landmark 5Pointz to Be Replaced by Residential Towers

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Long Island City’s 5Pointz, a 90-year-old factory building that has been serving as an outdoor exhibit space for graffiti artists around the world, is slated for demolition as the property’s owners seek a special permit for a zoning variance that would allow them to replace the building with two apartment towers and a luxury shopping center.

Originally known as the Phun Phactory, the venue was established in 1993 under a program called Graffiti Terminators, which encouraged artists to showcase their work in a more formal place. The site is located on Davis Street and Jackson Avenue next to the Court Square subway and currently houses studios that are used as art spaces for which more than 200 artists pay below market-rate rents. Over the years, the site has become a veritable graffiti mecca that is visited by thousands of artists and tourists each year, NY Daily News reports.

In March 2011, the Wolkoff family—who has owned the building for more than four decades—unveiled plans to demolish the property by the end of 2013 and replace it with a new development. According to DNAInfo.com, the proposed residential towers would stand 47 and 41 stories tall and would include around 1,000 market-rate apartments. That is almost twice the number of units that is currently allowed for the site by the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee.

The developer’s plan also calls for a parking garage with 250 spaces, a swimming pool, street level commercial space for retail and artistic use, and a 20,000-square-foot public park at the rear of the development.

Though it is a private property, the former manufacturing plant has been an unofficial landmark of Queens for many years. The prospect of losing this networking hub to a Manhattan-like complex has caused quite a stir among graffiti artists and art lovers who recently gathered outside the building to express their disappointment at the proposed development.

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Image of the 5Pointz complex via 5ptz.com
Rendering of the proposed redevelopment via the 5Pointz Plan


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