By Christian Murray
The iconic 5 Pointz graffiti mecca will be completely flattened by the end of October if the developer’s plans pan out.
Jerry Wolkoff, who aims to put up two residential towers in its place, said today that the demolition of the building is scheduled to start in about two weeks and should take two to three months to complete.
“Once demolition starts we will continue all the way through to 2016…until the job is complete,” Jerry Wolkoff said.
The demolition will start nine months after Wolkoff got the approval he needed from the city council to go ahead with the controversial development. It also comes eight months after he whitewashed the building in order to quash the artists’ attempt to landmark or preserve the building.
Wolkoff said that the idea of painting the building was to reduce the pain as each piece of artwork came down. He said that he had hoped that time had healed the wounds since he had painted the building.
“I made it easier for everyone. People get emotional…and it is my piece of property and I can do what I want with it,” Wolkoff said. “They have to understand it.”
When Wolkoff whitewashed the building, many artists referred to him as an “art criminal” and a peaceful candlelight vigil was held. The artists viewed Wolkoff’s action to paint the building as underhanded and as a historic loss.
Wolkoff said he had hoped to start the demolition job months earlier but said the process to get the demolition permits he needed from the city was a protracted one. This was the first time in years since Wolkoff had sought such permits from New York City, since many of his development jobs have taken place on Long Island.
“Since 9/11 the process to get demolition permits anywhere in New York City is a long one,” Wolkoff said, adding that the delays were not the result of his development being controversial.
Wolkoff said the new development will be the “coolest [residential] building in New York,” adding that he will be bringing the artist back with the space he is providing them with.
The plan calls for 1,000 apartment units, contained in two towers—with one tower being 47 stories and the other 41 stories.
Wolkoff has agreed to include 210 affordable units as part of the development and to build about 20 artists studios, equating to about 12,000 square feet.