Oct. 30, 2014 By Christian Murray
Demolition of the five-story building that was once at the heart of the 5 Pointz graffiti Mecca began earlier this week and is expected to be gone in about three weeks, according to building owner Jerry Wolkoff.
Wolkoff said that the final stage will begin in about two weeks when he starts demolishing the Jackson Avenue section–which once housed businesses such as local bar The Shannon Pot.
“All the buildings should be down by the middle of December,” Wolkoff said. “Then it will be a matter of cleaning up the site and getting ready to start building early next year.”
The demolition represents the end of a pitched battle between Wolkoff and the graffiti artists, who were given permission in the mid 1990s to transform a beaten up warehouse into an aerosol canvas. The relationship soured in 2012, however, when Wolkoff announced that he wanted to develop the site.
Wolkoff, who said he has had security guards and cameras at the location since demolition began, said the process has taken place without incident. “Most people who have come to the site have come to take pictures—not cause any trouble. Most have been very respectful.”
Wolkoff plans to build 1,000 apartment units contained in two towers—with one tower being 47 stories and the other 41 stories.
He said most people have supported his decision to develop the property. “About 99% of the people said ‘you gave them the place to work and it is your building,’” Wolkoff said.
The artists fought to save the 80-year-old building and filed a lawsuit claiming that their artwork was protected by the Visual Artists Rights Act. The lawsuit is still pending.
Wolkoff said that he likes the artists and street art. He said that there will be room for about 20 art studios when he has completed his development and he will place their artwork inside and outside the buildings.