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Famed NYC graffiti spot 5Pointz painted over

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Media captionThe BBC explored 5Pointz in August

A New York City warehouse celebrated for its graffiti art has been painted over in preparation for demolition, angering locals.

The owners of the building in Queens nicknamed "5Pointz" covered more than a decade's worth of spray-paint art in the middle of the night.

Artists likened it to an act of vandalism, as they had fought to have the building designated a landmark.

The area is scheduled to be developed into luxury condominiums.

More than 1,500 artists reportedly used the 5Pointz warehouse as a canvas, turning the formerly derelict brick building into a tourist attraction.

Even celebrated British street artist Banksy, in New York recently for a month-long residency, called for the building to be saved.

'It's cruel'

The building is set for demolition by the end of the year as part of a $400m project to build more than 1,000 luxury apartments, the New York Times reports.

Artists and locals appealed against the plan and tried to have the warehouse designated a landmark under the Visual Artists Rights Act.

But a federal judge officially rejected the effort last week, allowing for the demolition to move forward.

Supporters described their shock upon seeing the building's newly white facade, which was painted in the middle of the night.

"It's cruel", local tour guide Hans Von Rittern told the New York Times. "I don't know how you can erase 12 years of spectacular art."

The building's owner, Jerry Wolkoff, expressed sadness as he watched his crews paint over the building in preparation for the massive development project.

"I cried this morning, I swear to you," he said.