5Pointz, the graffiti-covered artists’ studio building and urban canvas across Jackson Avenue from P.S.1 in Long Island City, is closing its studios for good. Since it opened six years ago the building has been visited regularly by Department of Buildings folks regarding the various building codes that weren’t being met and renovations that were needed, particularly after a stairway collapsed back in April and nearly killed an artist who was leaving her studio.
An executive from G&M Realty, which has owned the building for 37 years, told the Queens Chronicle last week that despite some $200,000 in recent repairs it would still take $1 million to bring the building up to code, partly because they never obtained a permit to convert the building from a factory into studios in the first place. At about $300 per month, rent for the studios was among the lowest in LIC, and the company made no money off the building. Said the anonymous exec:
It’s more than sad—it’s terrible. You had people that couldn’t afford to go other places. I literally cried to the Buildings Department because I felt so bad for the artists.
Terrible indeed. The building will return to its former function as a factory shortly, but will reportedly (see comments below) continue to function as a venue for graffiti artists, so all is not lost. (liQcity)