Any hope of preserving New York City’s iconic graffiti mecca 5Pointz has been trampled overnight.

Last week, a judge ruled against an injunction that would have kept developers from moving forward with the plan to replace 5Pointz with luxury apartment highrises. Sure enough, the developers made a quick and deadly move early this morning. 

The factory building once covered in colorful art is now washed over with white paint. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Jerry Wolkoff, the building's owner, hired more than a dozen workers for the paint job, which began around 3 am this morning. It ended around 7 am.

Since the actual demolition won't start until early 2014, this paint job seems like a quick and brutal way of telling the artists: give up now.

Wolkoff explained his decision to WSJ: 

“This is why I did it: it was torture for them and for me. They couldn’t paint anymore and they loved to paint. Let me just get it over with and as I knock it down they’re not watching their piece of art going down. The milk spilled. It’s over. They don’t have to cry.”

So far, much of the response from New Yorkers has been a mix of anger, sadness, and regret.