The residential apartment building often referred to as the ‘Birthplace of Hip Hop,” 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in The Bronx, has been officially taken over by a housing advocacy group that works to revitalize “working class” housing, paving the way for a recovery at the building that once was home to DJ Kool Herc’s genre-spawning parties.
The building had fallen into foreclosure after being sold to a real estate developer in 2008, who then defaulted on the loan. Tenants and advocates had been fighting for the building to be saved, and in 2010, Workforce Housing Advisors purchased the building, with assistance from New York City. An auction was required to allow any other interested bidders the chance to purchase the building, but when it was held on Monday, November 7, no bidding reached the critical mark, permitting Workforce Housing Advisors to become the official owners.
The move sets what some call a much-needed precedent, as many would like to see similar efforts salvage other over-leveraged housing, particularly in the wake of the housing and real estate crisis.
For hip hop history’s sake, the new owners plan to pursue a listing in the National Register of Historic Places, a move the previous owner chose not to do, despite the building’s eligibility due to its historic significance in helping launch the cultural phenomenon.
The full story can be read on the New York Times City Room Blog.