1520 Sedgwick Ave - Holy House of Hip-Hop Sold
The deal is done.
The west Bronx apartment complex dubbed the Birthplace of Hip Hop was sold last week to real estate developer Mark Karasick for a reported $7 million.
The apartment complex rose to fame in August 1973 after DJ Kool Herc, aka Clive Campbell, and his sister threw a house party that gave rise to the now popular music genre and culture.
A bitter fight between the owner and tenants ensued to preserve 1520 Sedgwick Ave. as affordable housing fizzled out after a recent state Supreme Court decision cleared the way for the sale of the 100-unit apartment building.
Alarmed tenants and housing advocates now fear that either their rents will skyrocket to cover the sale price or that the building conditions will deteriorate.
"Either [Karasick's] going to have to get rid of the tenants to raise rent so he can get his investment back or he'll get into trouble financially and not be able to operate the building," predicted Dina Levy of UHAB, a nonprofit group working with the tenants.
But Karasick's attorney, Steven Holm, called those concerns unfounded. Any future rent increases must comply with rent stabilization rules, so there's little room for rapid hikes, he said.
"I'm sorry they're upset about the outcome," Holm said. "I think [the tenants] might be pleasantly surprised by how the building will be operated. And I would certainly give the landlord an opportunity to prove himself before jumping to any unfounded conclusions."
Former owners, 1520 Sedgwick Associates, had long sought to buy out of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program in a bid to end the city's regulatory power over the building.
Tenants' efforts to buy the building for $10 million had been rejected.
In February, the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development rejected the proposed $9 million sale to Karasick, saying the price exceeded the value of the building, estimated at $7.5 million.
Local politicians also had jumped into the fray, holding several rallies to urge banks and mortgage lenders to keep out of any proposed deals involving the building.
Residents vowed to stay on task. "We did not achieve our ultimate goal of buying the building, but we are not defeated," said Gloria Robinson, president of the 1520 Sedgwick Tenants Association. "We intend to keep fighting to preserve our homes and to preserve the historical significance of our building."
By Tanyanika Samuels for [NYDaily.com]
1520 Sedgwick Ave - The Holy House of Hip-Hop
For their 40th Anniversary, this week NYMag breaks down the imminent importance of an apartment tower in the West Bronx pocket, home of the Yankees and Kool Herc. Before Cedar Park saw Flash and Bambaataa deafened by the Herculoids, Herc's sister Cindy threw a going-back-to-school fund-raiser in the Rec-Room below their apartment.
This made the building a monument for the birthplace of hip-hop, today it stands to be demolished for future developments.
"The Holy House of Hip-Hop" by Michael A. Gonzales for The NYMag's 40th Anniversary. Published Sep 28, 2008.
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