Monday, September 29, 2008
At Hip-Hop's Birthplace: Hope For The Best, Preparations For The Worst
As the House of Representatives rejected an economic bailout proposal brought on by the national mortgage crisis, tenants of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and their supporters awaited word today of the fate of the most famous address in hip-hop.

It was a day in which the drama of the nation was being mirrored at a place right the heart of hip-hop history, as tenants and their supporters began planning to save their homes while real estate developers scrambled to close a speculative deal against declining prospects for credit.

Late last week, a judge cleared the way for the landlord group behind the West Bronx apartment building to begin preparations to sell the building, whose value has been assessed at about $7 million.

The building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where DJ Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell threw their first party in late August 1973, is one of a declining number in New York City covered under an affordable housing mandate called the Mitchell-Lama program. It now represents the continuing decline of urban affordable housing.

But the judge's order allows the landlord group to pay off the rest of its outstanding $5 million mortgage and remove it from the affordable housing program.

Such an action, all sides believe, would clear the way for the purchase of the building by well-known real estate developer Mark Karasick, despite an offer on the table from the tenants, the city, and their supporters to purchase 1520 Sedgwick for $10 million—$3 million above the building's expected value.

Cindy Campbell and DJ Kool Herc have been at the head of an effort to have the building declared a historic landmark, but events have been moving quickly in the past year.

Today, Cindy Campbell worried that a sale of the building might displace over a hundred families.

"Winter is coming up. There's elderly people, children. Some of these people have been living there for over 30 years," she said. "People's lives are more important than a developer trying to flip over his money."

Dina Levy, director of organizing and policy with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, said today that tenants and supporters of 1520 Sedgwick were baffled as to why the landlord group has apparently rejected the tenants' offer, which was supported by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and subsidized in part by the city.

She argued that even if the building were to be sold, the rents in the building likely would not rise because of city regulations and the depressed rental market. She said she felt the tenant deal on the table was a strong one. "I can't believe that they would not take that deal," Levy said. "It defies logic."

Levy added that she was unsure in this market what bank or lender might provide debt to Karasick to purchase 1520 Sedgwick.

Although the landlord group had signaled last week they intended to pay off the $5 million outstanding mortgage today, that had not occurred by the late afternoon. "There's still the hope that we can save the building," she said. "That's still the goal and that's still the hope."

But even if the building were to be sold, eviction could not begin right away, and the efforts to preserve the building as a historic landmark and an affordable housing building may redouble in the coming months.

"At this point what I can promise we will do, will be to train the tenants on what regulations are," Levy said. "This guy (Karsick) will not have a moment's sleep."

posted by Zentronix @ 1:56 PM   3 comments links to this post


At 9/29/08, 10:10 PM, Blogger dlipkin said...

What a moment it would be if 1520 Sedgwick was deemed a historic landmark. Would that be the first in hip-hop history? Do you know of any others?

I feel like that could be a good spot for a permanent hip-hop archive. A home to the traveling hip-hop archive that seems to meander from university to university.

At 9/29/08, 11:20 PM, Blogger Adisa Banjoko, "The Bishop" said...

Wheres all the "rich" rappers at when u need them? Out buying teeth....Damn shame.....Much love to all trying to save the building....

At 9/30/08, 8:10 AM, Blogger andy said...

Now that's poetic - the birthplace of hip-hop coming full circle and becoming the home of the *official* hall-of fame/museum/archive...

I would think that such a spot could actually stimulate business.

Hey, even a mediocre baller like myself took a pilgrimage to Springfield, Massachusetts to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Previous posts
1520 Sedgwick Cleared To Be Sold
Panic, Paralysis, Protests, and Presidents
James K. Galbraith :: We Don't Need A Bailout
Naomi Klein On Wall Street's Shock Doctrine
The Audacity Of Despair, Or Homeless Again
The Break/s TONIGHT!!!
Marvin Gaye On The 2008 Elections
Lip Glossing :: The Silly Season Is In
Bigger Than Hip-Hop :: A Q+A With Kevin Powell :: Day 4: The C-Word

select * from pages where handle = "BlogLinks" #content#

June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009

Email list

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list, an irregular update of what's new in our world: