The Bronx — The Universal Hip-Hop Museum is finally getting a home, part of a mega-development complex coming to Bronx Point.
The museum, which is in its fourth year as an organization, has Kurtis Blow as its chairman, Ice-T on its founding board of directors and LL Cool J as an honorary advisory board member, Executive Director Rocky Bucano said.
The museum, originally planned for the Kingsbridge Armory, will use technology to create a multi-generational experience featuring music, artifacts, video and photography, research areas, and a performance stage, Bucano said. It will partner with Microsoft, Google and others to create the right mix of technology and an immersive entertainment experience.
The museum will be a long-awaited "home for the world's most popular art form, hip-hop culture... bringing hip-hop back to the Bronx where it originated from,” Bucano said, adding that “It’s gonna be a complete history of hip-hop.”
"The Universal Hip-Hop Museum may be the single most important project for the preservation of hip-hop culture," Blow said. "This new cultural institution will be a great new tourism destination for NYC and the Bronx. What a great day for hip-hop!"
Bucano said that Bronx Point, which also includes a multiplex theater, an education space, and a neighborhood food and beverage hall and incubator, hit on "the right mix of different uses.”
The plan, phase one of which is expected to be completed by 2022, will also incorporate 1,045 units of affordable housing at the site, located adjacent to Mill Pond Park and the 145th Street Bridge.
While rezoning for the site is still going through the public land use review process, the plan has been approved by Community Board 4, Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz Jr,, and the City Planning Commission. The next step is for the City Council to approve it.
If all goes as planned, phase one will include a waterfront esplanade connected to Mill Pond Park, an outdoor performance space with views of the Harlem River, a public plaza along Exterior Street, the multiplex theater and 600 units of permanently affordable housing for extremely low to moderate income households. Half of those units will be larger two-and three-bedroom apartments.
BronxWorks, a local nonprofit, will be given space on the site during the first phase and additional educational programming could be operated by such organizations as the Bronx Children’s Museum, City Science and Billion Oyster Project. A food food and beverage hall will be erected to help Bronx-based small food vendors start businesses, according to the city.
The city says the site is one of the largest remaining city-owned parcels in The Bronx and is expected to create more than 100 permanent jobs and approximately 915 direct construction jobs during phase one construction.
“Today, we are excited to announce the activation of this long-vacant waterfront site with high-quality public open space, over 600 units of permanently affordable housing, and a range of cultural facilities that pay homage to the boogie down Bronx,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said.