Hip Hop Hall of Fame secures Harlem building » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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Planners of a Hip Hop Hall of Fame said Tuesday they had secured a Harlem location in their ambitious bid to build a museum, hotel and concert venue devoted to the New York-born genre.

The organizers said they were launching a campaign to raise $150 million to meet a goal of opening a first phase of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame in February which will include an initial museum, a cafe and a gift shop.

A depiction of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame building that organizers aim to open in 2018| Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum | Manila Bulletin

In a key step, Hip Hop Hall of Fame planners said they had won a bid to acquire a building on Harlem’s 125th Street, the bustling heart of the uptown Manhattan neighborhood that for a century has been one of the foremost centers of African American culture.

The space is modeled on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which each year inducts artists for their historic contributions. Founded in 1983, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 opened a complex in Cleveland that has become a major draw to the Midwestern city.

“Cleveland is home to the Rock Hall of Fame and Harlem will be the location for the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Headquarters,” planners said in a statement.

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame planners eventually envision a 20-story complex that will include a five-star hotel, television studio, concert lounge, restaurant and sports bar with an aim of drawing one million visitors a year.

The project is being led by J.T. Thompson, a concert promoter and television producer who earlier arranged a Hip Hop Hall of Fame award show for Black Entertainment Television.

A separate project, known as the Universal Hip Hop Museum, has been in the planning stages in The Bronx, the city’s northernmost borough where the musical genre was first born in the 1970s.

Rocky Bucano, who leads the project in The Bronx, hopes to combine the museum with businesses, green space and affordable housing as a way to stimulate the economy in the borough, which remains the poorest in New York despite gains in recent years.

Harlem, which has been rapidly gentrifying, regularly draws tourists to attractions that include the Apollo Theater, the legendary jazz venue which has started its own Hollywood-style Walk of Fame of jazz greats.

The moves come as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame increasingly embraces hip-hop stars, with slain rap legend Tupac Shakur inducted in April.

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