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5 Pointz demolition begins in Long Island City

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LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (PIX11) -- As the demolition of the world-famous 5 Pointz graffiti warehouse begins, New Yorkers are mourning the demise of the graffiti mecca.

"It's a good tourist attraction. A lot of people from out of town take the train, take pictures. 5 Pointz is something to look for, something you don't see everywhere," Bronx resident Kevin Brown said. "It's sad that they're tearing it down to build a high rise condo ... it's always about the money."

5 Pointz is an abandoned warehouse on Jackson Avenue, well-known for graffiti covering every inch of its exterior. It’s visible from the No. 7 as the train enters and leaves the borough.

For decades, the building's owner Jerry Wolkholf allowed the painting on the facade. In October 2013, NYC Council approved his request to demolish and build a higher condominium in its place.

"It's a place to display art," Brown said. "I grew up in an era when there was graffiti in the subways; having a place provides structure for artists is important."

The building was originally constructed as a water meter factory. In 1993, a company called Phun Phactory encouraged graffiti artists to display their art legally there.

The name 5 Pointz signifies the five boroughs of NYC coming together. The site has been the backdrop of popular movies including "Now You See Me."

"It's sad that people will see this landmark in movies, say 'where's that at?' and not be able to come visit," Brown explained.

"I guess it's progress -- a lot of space that's not being used will have a purpose again," another straphanger said. "I'm going to miss the graffiti, but I'm not going to miss the high crime. The luxury condos will gentrify the area -- it'll bring business, supermarkets, stores. I won't miss the grittiness. Who misses getting mugged?"

Renderings of what will replace the graffiti mecca have been released: construction on the two giant towers will begin in the next three to five months. Together, the buildings will have 1,000 rental units, including both penthouses and affordable housing.

There will also be a pool, a courtyard and an art wall. One of the towers will also have retail stores.