Tenants try to buy Bronx birthplace of hip-hop

Tenants of a Sedgwick Avenue building deemed the birthplace of hip-hop announced Tuesday plans to buy the property themselves to keep it affordable.

The residents are trying to purchase 1520 Sedgwick Ave. after owner BSR Management said it would opt out of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program in February.

Tenants say they have about $11 million to purchase their units for a few thousand dollars each as cooperative housing. However, the developer is seeking about $14 million. He plans to purchase the building and possibly turn it into market-rate housing.

Sen. Charles Schumer and Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc, are throwing their support behind the tenants. The state has deemed the building eligible to be listed on national and state registers of historic sites.

During the 1970s, Campbell began spinning records at parties in the basement recreation room. The hip-hop movement then spread around the world.

The earliest anyone can purchase the building is Feb. 28. Tenants have launched a Web site, where visitors can donate to their cause.

For full coverage of the press conference at 1520 Sedgwick Ave., go to channel 612 and select iO Extra. AP wire reports contributed to this story.

Related information:Save1520.org

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