Marshall OKs 5Pointz redevelopment project

Ken Maldonado
By Chris Engelhardt

Borough President Helen Marshall approved a tweaked special permit application last week for the 5Pointz redevelopment project that includes additional community benefits for Long Island City residents.

The Wolkoff family, who have owned the site for more than 40 years, want to raze 5Pointz, at 45-46 Davis St. in Long Island City, by the end of the year. Design plans call for a zoning change to allow 1,000 residential rental units in a 41-story tower and a 47-story tower, which would be connected on the fifth floor with an esplanade.

The plans include an indoor pool, a gym, an art gallery and a 250-spot parking garage, along with a courtyard with a 50-by-200-foot mural honoring the building’s graffiti glory, as well as 30,000 square feet of outdoor space for the public in addition to 50,000 square feet of retail space between both buildings.

In June, Community Board 2 rejected the special permit to develop the graffiti-covered warehouse into two high-rise luxury apartments after CB 2’s Land Use Committee said the project’s “excessive size” and “unsatisfactory design” failed to provide sufficient community benefits.

But at a Land Use public hearing June 27, 5Pointz owner David Wolkoff — joined by his father, Long Island developer Jerry Wolkoff, and CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley — told Marshall additional benefits would be included in the application to ensure sufficient amenities for residents. They include 75 units of affordable housing, 12,000 square feet of space for artist studios, a working partnership with MoMA’s PS 1 Sculpture Studio for the management of art display panels along Davis Street and parking preferential rates and promotions.

Marshall approved the application July 16.

“I had some concerns about this application,” she said in a statement, “but I believe those concerns have been adequately addressed by the developer’s promise to Community Board 2 to provide affordable housing and other community benefits as part of the project.”

Residents and local artists have opposed redevelopment plans, noting that 5Pointz is a revered destination recognized around the world not only for its graffiti-covered facade, but for providing artists and children in and outside the community with an outlet to express their artistic and creative talents.

But Conley believes the Wolkoffs have made “big concessions” with the tweaked application and have a “desire to be in tune with the community.”

“They listened to every point the board raised — we were not changing our vote,” he said, referring to CB 2’s decision in June. “But there are many that think the building should go forward, and some that think it should stay as 5Pointz.”

“They’ve made changes,” Conley continued. “It’ll be a benefit for everyone, the artists included.”

The application will now be reviewed by the City Planning Commission.

Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at cengelhardt@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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