H. Thomas O’Hara — architect of the two towers set to be erected on the lot where 5 Pointz sits now — filed construction permits with the Department of Buildings on Tuesday. The filing comes one week after owner Jerry Wolkoff announced he had secured a permit to demolish the building. On July 17 Wolkoff said he planned to begin tearing the iconic building down within two weeks.
According to the permits filed on Tuesday, the complex will reach 498 feet at its tallest point. It will be a little more than one million square feet of space–977,086 devoted to residential space and 39,765 set aside for commercial use. There are 1116 residential units anticipated across the two structures (210 of them are to be affordable housing units).
Wolkoff purchased the old Neptune Water Meter factory (built in 1901) in the early ’70s, with dreams of building an one million square foot office building on the property. Plans stalled when Wolkoff failed to find businesses willing to move to Long Island City.
For the last two decades the old factory has acted as a canvas for some of the best street art in the world, as well as a flop house for itinerant artists and an incubator for emerging ones. The building housed scores of artists studios until 2009, when an outer stairway collapsed, crushing and nearly killing one of the building’s tenants.
The New York City Council approved a special permit granting Wolkoff permission to build residential high rises on the property in October 2013. The owner needed the City Council’s approval because plans call for buildings that are 41 and 48 floors, respectively–heights higher than zoning regulations in that area allow.
In an interview with the Long Island City Post last week, Jerry Wolkoff said demolition on the 5 Pointz building would begin in the next two weeks, and he expected the building to be gone by October.
Demolition, when it does start, will be getting underway much later than Wolkoff hoped. It took nine months to acquire permission to tear down the building. “Never anticipated the problems,” Wolkoff exclaimed in an interview with the Voice earlier this year. But, hey, what’s a few more months when you’ve already waited 43 years?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 23, 2014