Hip Hop purists bemoaned the impending loss of the culture’s de facto birthplace of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue when private investors eyed the building for sale. Now, a $5.6 million federal loan has not only effectively railroaded the sale, but has also afforded the building the funds to complete a number of dire renovations.
The loan 1520 Sedgwick Ave. received comes from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace plan, which assists multifamily apartment complexes throughout the city in times of financial and physical need. $3 million of said oan has already been set aside for building renovations in 2011. For Senator Charles Schumer, who teamed up with Hip Hop’s godfather DJ Kool Herc to save the building from investors, the loan is a victory.
“This is a huge victory for Sedgwick residents that will serve as a model for preserving affordable housing throughout New York City,” explained Senator Schumer. “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.” (AllHipHop.com)
Although the primary concern with regards to the loan was to provide for the building’s residents, these loans will help to preserve the very place that DJ Kool Herc first began spinning records at parties. City council speaker Christine Quinn acknowledged the residents of 1520 Sedgwick Ave.’s decades of struggle and praised them for their contribution to the Hip Hop culture.
“Three decades ago, DJ Kool Herc mixed funk songs with African beats and rap, and hip-hop was born during a house concert in the basements of 1520 Sedgwick,” said Quinn. “Hip Hop has often been an expression of hardships and 1520 Sedgwick has seen its fair share of struggles. After the fiscal crisis, 1520 Sedgwick became a victim of predatory equity investors, and we were at risk of losing a historical and cultural landmark. But with this purchase and $3 million of Council funding for repairs, we will now see the rebirth of 1520 Sedgwick – and maybe see history created once again. I’m particularly excited that this will give tenants a chance to recreate their homes, not to mention the possibility of one day converting the building into a co-op.” (AllHipHop.com)