G&M Realty’s David Wolkoff, the developer behind a controversial plan to replace Long Island City’s graffiti-covered 5Pointz buildings with twin luxury high rises, has reached an agreement to more than double the number of affordable housing units included in the proposal.
Wolkoff said yesterday that the company will include 209 affordable apartments in the plan for 22-44 Jackson Avenue, an increase from the previously promised figure — 75 units, which Wolkoff pledged in June.
Wolkoff told members of the City Council’s zoning subcommittee that G&M would make its “best efforts” to rent the affordable units to area residents. He said he agreed to the alteration, along with a pledge that the development would create 1,000 union jobs, after talks with City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
The planned building requires a zoning variance to build to the proposed height of 41 stories, but has drawn criticism from many in the community who defend 5Pointz as a landmark. The City Council and the city’s Department of City Planning need to approve the variance for the towers to move forward with construction.
The residential project would end the long tradition of lawful graffiti at the 5Pointz buildings, which are covered in graffiti works by artists both known and obscure.
Wolkoff and his father Jerry, who run G&M together, have said they would welcome 5Pointz artists back to curate the art walls in the future development, should the plan be approved.
But some local artists are not convinced.
“We do appreciate the effort made by David and Jerry, but the amount of wall offered is not enough — if anything, it’s going to remind people of what we’ve lost,” Marie Cecile Falageul, a 5Pointz volunteer who lives in the neighborhood, told DNAinfo.
Yesterday’s hearing was the first of two City Council hearings for the proposal. Another is planned for today, and the council could vote on the application as soon as next week, Van Bramer told DNAinfo. [DNAinfo] — Julie Strickland