Two Controversial Queens Projects Approved

5Pointz, a graffiti mecca in Long Island City that advocates say brings artists from around the world, will be torn down to make way for an apartment complex. (Photo by Wally Gobetz/Creative Commons license)

5Pointz, a graffiti mecca in Long Island City that advocates say brings artists from around the world, will be torn down to make way for an apartment complex. (Photo by Wally Gobetz, Creative Commons license)

Two controversial projects in Queens have gotten the green light, clearing the way for construction of a mega mall and an apartment complex to the dismay of many who live and work there, reported in The Queens Courier.

On October 9, the City Council approved a $3 billion project to transform the auto repair shops near Citi Field in Willets Point into a mega mall and an application to build apartment towers on the site of the Long Island City graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz.

In Willets Point, the plan for the 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center in the area known as the “Iron Triangle” includes cleanup of contaminated land and construction of 2,500 housing units, 35 percent of which will be affordable.

“It is important to note that never before has a council district seen this much affordable housing,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who represents the area.

But it also calls for the displacement of local auto shop owners who say they can only survive if they are moved as a whole and have not been given enough in relocation aid payouts.

A $3 billion project will transform the auto repair shops in Willets Point into a mega mall with housing units. (Photo rendering by NYCEDC)

A $3 billion project will transform the auto repair shops in Willets Point into a mega mall with housing units. (Photo rendering by NYCEDC)

In Long Island City, the new apartment complex will have a 47-story building and a 41-story building, with 1,000 rental apartments and public and retail space. Despite opposition from the local community board, 5Pointz, which advocates say is a landmark that draws artists from around the world, will be torn down.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said the complex will include artists studios and the art of 5Pointz artists on its walls, but artists say there have been no commitments in writing stating this would actually happen.

“We are going to continue the beautification of Long Island City,” said Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz volunteer. “We’re never making the move. We’re here till the end.”

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