"In Long Island City, Queens, new buildings will replace a spray-painted warehouse." making it seem like it is one eyesore building blighting a gentrifying area. It is simply not so. I know. I have been to 5 Pointz many times and it is a huge complex - one large industrial city block that is situated in a highly industrial area of LIC. It is a presence. And its removal / destruction would be a tragedy.
I understand the obvious economics for a family to sell a building that it has owned for many years. But what if there was a conservatory such as the one created for the Highline that would raise the money, buy the property and preserve the art environment there?
When the 7 train surfaces in Long Island City, straphangers are greeted by an oversize likeness of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. on a hulking warehouse covered in graffiti. Soon they are likely to see two shiny apartment towers.
Longtime property owner David Wolkoff wants to replace 5Pointz—a five-story, block-long canvas for graffiti artists for 15 years—with 1,000 residential units. In addition to the 41-story and 47-story buildings, his plan includes some 30,000 square feet of retail space, a public parking garage and designated walls where aerosol artists can continue claiming their tagging rights.
"It was inevitable," said Mr. Wolkoff, whose family bought the building in the late 1960s, leasing space to manufacturers and working artists over the years. "We knew many, many years ago that Long Island City was going to change."
The city must first approve the Wolkoff family's request to increase the site's building size to 1 million total square feet from 400,000. Graffiti Gauguins might consider spraying at 5Pointz while they can: Demolition could take place as soon as fall 2013.