July 18, 2013 By Christian Murray
The 5 Pointz graffiti icon moved one step closer to meeting the wrecking ball yesterday.
The developer’s application to demolish the site and erect 1,000 apartment units–370 more than what is permitted under current zoning rules—was approved by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall yesterday.
Marshall’s decision to approve the plan was influenced by an agreement struck on June 26 by the leaders of Community Board 2 and developer Jerry Wolkoff. The agreement followed the 40-member board’s rejection of the plan on June 6.
The 40-member board argued that the development was too large and out of character, made no provision for affordable housing and provided little in the way of art studio space. It claimed that the community should receive more benefits—especially since it would permit Wolkoff to build 370 extra units.
The board’s rejection led to a follow up meeting between Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley and Wolkoff. They reached an agreement where Wolkoff agreed to provide 75 affordable apartment units with preference for neighboring residents; 20 artist studios (up from the five that were initially proposed); and below market-rate parking.
Marshall approved the plan based on this agreement. “I hereby recommend approval…on the condition that the agreements memorialized in the letter dated June 26 and jointly signed by the developer and CB2 Chair are adhered to.”
The 1,000-unit plan still has to be approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The Planning Commission has until Sept. 14 to make a decision. Upon approval, the City Council has 50 days to vote.
Wolkoff has always had the right to demolish the 5 Pointz building. The issue at hand continues to be whether he can get the special permit to build the 370 extra units.