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Universal Hip Hop Museum planned for Harlem River leisure complex

Credit: Medzyun Pavel
This museum may be the single most important project for the preservation of hip hop culture
– Kurtis Blow, chair of the Universal Hip Hop Museum

A vacant plot located along the Harlem River waterfront in New York has been earmarked as the site for a major new residential and leisure development – including a home for the city’s first dedicated hip hop museum.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has announced a raft of ambitious plans for its new Bronx Point destination, including public open spaces, a hi-tech multiplex theatre, education facilities for museums, a neighbourhood food and beverage hall and a local business incubator.

The project is a key component of a US$194m (€163.59m, £144.45m) capital investment strategy announced by New York mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 and led by NYCEDC.

The organisation secured the vacant site in July 2016 and requested expressions of interest to redevelop it. The chosen proposal was submitted by a joint venture between L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects, an emerging developer specialising in affordable educational spaces.

The Universal Hip Hop Museum was established four years ago by a group of hip-hop pioneers including Grandmaster Melle Mel and Afrika Bambaataa, working with the New York State Department of Education. Its aim is to showcase, preserve and protect hip hop culture and explore its history through physical exhibits, and virtual and augmented reality technologies.

‘Hip Hop architect’ Mike Ford and his practice BrandNuDesign – who specialise in the intersection of the musical culture and the built environment – have created design proposals for the museum. However, previous plans to secure a site have fallen through, including a push last year to renovate a disused courthouse. Hopes have been revived with the Bronx Point announcement.

Commenting on the plans, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr said: “We'll bring the Universal Hip Hop Museum to its rightful location in the birthplace of hip hop, The Bronx. Its inclusion as part of this project will help showcase our role in the creation of that worldwide cultural movement for generations to come.”

American rapper, songwriter and producer Kurtis Blow, chair of the museum, added: “This museum may be the single most important project for the preservation of hip hop culture. As a new cultural institution, it will be a great new tourism destination for New York City and the Bronx.”

The NYCEDC is hoping Bronx Point will be completed by the mid-2020s. It is working with the departments of Housing Preservation and Development and Parks and Recreation to oversee the project, which will proceed in at least two phases.

In addition to the museum, plans are being finalised for 1,045 units of housing, 600 of which will be permanently affordable and targeted at households with incomes ranging from extremely low to moderate.

Public spaces will include a waterfront esplanade that will connect to and expand the existing Mill Pond Park; an outdoor performance space with public seating and expansive views of the Harlem River; and a public plaza along the nearby Exterior Street. A 2.3-acre park for the area is also being considered.

Universal Hip Hop Museum  Harlem River  The Bronx  New York  architecture  design 
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25 Jul 2016

Hip hop museum could finally be built in The Bronx as site and design identified

A vacant plot located along the Harlem River waterfront in New York has been earmarked as the site for a major new residential and leisure development – including a home for the city’s first dedicated hip hop museum. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has announced a raft of ambitious plans for its new Bronx Point destination, including public open spaces, a hi-tech multiplex theatre, education facilities for
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The project is a key component of a US$194m capital investment strategy announced by New York mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 and led by NYCEDC
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