BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
The City Council approved a special permit on Oct. 9 to build a pair of high-rise buildings that will displace an iconic warehouse in Long Island City that has seen tourists from around the world because of the graffiti art it displays on its walls.
Even though the Wolkoff family owns the right to build on the property at 22-44 Jackson Ave., the developers applied for a special permit to change their current zoning to build on a larger floor area that consists of two buildings, measuring 47 and 41 stories tall, with a total of 1,000 apartment units.
During the City Council public hearing on Oct. 2, David Wolkoff of G&M Realty said they look at their development project as a transition from the past and present to the future, which will help create Long Island City’s new identity.
Wolkoff said after many discussions with Community Board 2 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), they have agreed to increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.
“By working closely with both applicants and the community, we have ensured that the public will be provided with a reasonable development that will guarantee the community of Long Island City continues to thrive,” Van Bramer said in a statement.
The agreement includes a guarantee that the developer will hire 800 union construction workers and approximately 200 full time workers.
Since the Wolkoffs have allowed for legal graffiti artwork to adorn the walls of their 200,000-square-feet warehouse at 5Pointz for more than a decade, he said the new development will consist of art walls, artist studio space and an attractive art gallery that will showcase the work of local artists.
“We are not going back on our promises,” Wolkoff said previously.
In a recent agreement signed by Jerry Wolkoff, the developers have promised to remain committed to the arts in this building by increasing the amount of artist studio and gallery space from 2,200-square-feet to 12,000-square-feet.
Marie Flageul, a volunteer at 5Pointz, has said that 5Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen should be offered the artist space due to his dedication to the site.
According to the newly signed agreement, Cohen, also known as Meres, will be given the opportunity to aerosol on the 10,000-square-feet of art panels and walls along Davis Street. Furthermore, this space will be available to local artists at reasonable rents.
David Wolkoff previously said that he is very hopeful that Cohen and the artist community will come back to paint when the development is built.
In addition to artist space and affordable housing, the developer has committed to build a public park that is over 32,000-square-feet.
Other amenities within the building include over 50,000-square-feet of retail space, a gym, media rooms, a rock climbing wall, meeting rooms, 500 bike-rack spaces and a 250 car parking garage.
A spokesperson from 5Pointz was not able to comment on the newly signed agreement in time for press.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at email@example.com, or @Tsakhuja13.