Despite having survived a previous take-over attempt that would have resulted in the displacement of several low income families, the building widely accepted as the birthplace of Hip-Hop remains in danger.
On Wednesday, New York City and State politicians rallied alongside tenants of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, protesting the proposed sale of the historical building that would result in unaffordable rents for the 100-unit buildings current residents.
For close to two years, the tenants have been fighting to maintain the buildings status as one of the last remaining affordable housing complexes in the West Bronx.
“Weve got to keep the fire burning,” DJ Kool Herc told The New York Daily News.
Kool Herc is credited with laying the groundwork for the invention of Hip-Hop during a party at the legendary building on Sedgwick and Cedar.
“Its not just happening here, people got problems in all five boroughs. Were going to keep up the fight,” DJ Kool Herc said.
The tenants celebrated a brief victory in February, when the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development denied a proposal by the buildings owners to sell the property to real estate developer Mark Karasick for $9 million.
According to The New York Daily News, the price, which the city says exceeded the value of the building, would have been the first step in a practice known as predatory equity.”
The unscrupulous practice allows banks and mortgage lenders to make loans they cannot support as a motive to later sell the properties to private investors, often leaving current tenants out in the cold.
The 1520 Sedgwick Ave. Tenants Association still hopes to raise funds in time to purchase the building themselves, a move which, last December, the buildings owners said they would not oppose.