Hip-hop ‘birthplace’ Saved From Developers

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September 8, 2010 | 10:55am EST

A New York tower block widely acknowledged as the birthplace of hip-hop has been saved following a three-year campaign by rap pioneer DJ Kool Herc.

Kool Herc – real name Clive Campbell – held a house party in a recreation room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx in August 1973, and many hip-hop historians credit that event as the unlikely spark for the genre.

The complex’s owners announced plans to sell the tower block to real estate developers in 2008, prompting tenants to start a campaign rallying against the sale.

Residents were invited to buy the block for $14 million , but they could only raise $11.5 million .

Now the building has been saved by a federal loan, receiving $5.6 million in financing through a Big Apple New Housing Marketplace Plan and an extra $3 million has been committed to make much needed repairs in 2011.

Senator Charles Schumer, who campaigned alongside Campbell, is ecstatic over the development.

He says, “This is a huge victory for Sedgwick residents that will serve as a model for preserving affordable housing throughout New York.

“The message here is clear – residents of 1520 Sedgwick, and residents of affordable buildings throughout the city, should not be used as pawns for predatory equity investors to make quick profits. The purchase of this note is a major milestone that we hope will be a big win for residents of Sedgwick.”

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