Battle For "Hip Hop's Birthplace" Ends With Sale

posted August 08, 2008 08:42:31 AM CDT | 22 comments

In an effort to curb local gentrification, and save what is widely regarded as "the birthplace of Hip Hop," residents of the 100-unit building located at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue made plans to buy their building. Those efforts ended when the building's current owners made moves to pay the unit's remaining mortgage and have it removed from a special affordable housing program.

The building's current owners were blocked from selling the property month's ago, when New York's Department of Housing Preservation and Development rejected the proposed $9 million sale. That sale was $1.5 million higher than the building's assessed value, and would have likely removed the building from the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program. In order to avoid having another sale blocked by the state, the current owners elected to pay the remaining balance off. Such a move will end any regulatory power the state has over the sale or use of the property.

"They have requested a payoff letter for early September, housing department spokesman Seth Dolin tells the New York Times. It means they want to pay off their mortgage and exit."

DJ Kool Herc and a number of celebrities and elected officials were able to postpone the sale by lobbying to make the building a historic landmark last year [click to read]. Mark Karasick, the real estate developer who is looking to purchase the property from its current owners, has not disclosed what he plans to do with the property after purchasing it. Local residents fear the Sedgwick building could be subject to a significant rent increases, or demolition.

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