Tag Archives: property speculation

Stokes Croft 3, gentrifiers 1

Okay, so we lost the battle over Lakota, but it seems like the groundswell of dissent in the area over the massive changes to the cultural and social makeup of our area proposed by developers is finally being heeded by the council… In quick succession the plans to put up apartment blocks and student flats on the sites of Clockwork and the Attic Bar and adjacent to the Bell have all been thrown out!

For more info on this and other developments, stay tuned to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and the St. Paul’s Unlimited Community Partnership websites, and check my Nu.Bristol pages.

PS An interesting little vid with Chris Chalkley of PRSC, SC resident Keval Shah and Hogge from the Cube talking about the area and the challenges it faces:

PRSC Says: Stop the yuppie developments! Save Lakota!

Right, so I been a lazy little blogger, been away, yadda yadda yadda, but anyhow, that busy bee Chris at the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft has done my work for me by putting out another call to arms to the people of the Croft and the STP…

As you may know, Lakota – one of Bristol’s most significant nightclub venues, and a progenitor of local underground dance culture – is under serious threat of being knocked down to make way for (yes, you’ve guessed it) more yuppie flats. I wrote about the earlier stages of all this back in 2006, and sadly Clockwork has now fallen to the speculators; but we do still have the chance to execute a blocking manoeuvre on the profiteers wanting to socially cleanse our neighbourhood by sticking together and routing them on the Lakota issue. How can we do that? Well, over to Mr Chalkley:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: FINAL COUNCIL PLANNING MEETING TO DECIDE WHETHER THE LAKOTA NIGHT CLUB WILL BE DEMOLISHED

TIME AND VENUE: WEDNESDAY, 11th JUNE 2PM, at the Council House.

The Lakota building is up for demolition. A development of The Lakota and the Coroner’s Court is proposed (See attached images), which will mean the demolition of the former malthouse, now the Lakota, and the construction of 57 residential units, ground floor commercial units, to include a restaurant/cafe and an element of affordable business space.

The Lakota is a former malthouse which has its origins in the 18th Century… and falls within the Stokes Croft Conservation area, and is identified as “an unlisted building of merit.” 197 letters and e-mails have been received by the Council, of which 21 were in favour of demolition, the rest being against… most people citing the loss of the club… Be warned: this is not a valid reason as far as the planning is concerned…

We invite you to peruse the relevant documents, and there are many (See the two links at the bottom of the email)… and would ask you to attend the meeting…

Everybody has a right to speak at this meeting for up to three minutes, to put one’s point of view. In order to do this, you must contact Steve Gregory at the Council by 12 o’clock the previous day [midday, Tuesday 10th June], with details of what you are going to say… Tel. 01179224357 or email steve.gregory@bristol.gov.uk

The proposed development has some merit, but we feel that, even though the Lakota building is in poor repair, and is a simple utilitarian warehouse building, there is no valid reason for its demolition. The reason that Stokes Croft is “Known as much for its individuality, culture and diversity, as for its perceived decay” is precisely because it has managed to retain an eclectic mix of historic buildings that have managed to escape the blandification of commercial re-development. It is arguable that the reason that the Lakota night club came into existence, is that the building was not locked into one specific use… Essentially it is a large box.

With developments taking place all over the City currently, we believe that it is increasingly important to retain whatever historic fabric that remains within the City Centre, and to retain buildings that offer the possibility of many different uses. By creating more accommodation, we remove these buildings and potential space from the possibility of public/creative/commercial use. In fact, we believe that to demolish the Lakota would do the City an enormous disservice, and risk setting a precedent for further re-development throughout Stokes Croft that neither ‘preserves’ nor ‘enhances’ its status as a Conservation area.

Jamaica Street Arts Studios in the centre of Stokes Croft is an old industrial building which was similarly under threat in the early 1990′s. By working with English Heritage, the owners managed to keep the building alive, and it is now a flourishing Arts studio complex, and houses over 40 working artists in a refurbished historic building.

One thing is certain: If we demolish the Lakota, we cannot un-demolish it a few years later… So, if there is the slightest element of doubt, we must work to preserve it…

If you wish to speak, then please get in contact Steve Gregory Tel. 01179224357 email steve.gregory@bristol.gov.uk
Or… contact us [PRSC], with a view to co-ordinating our response.

————————————————————————–
Lakota planning app on BCC website
Description: DEMOLITION OF LAKOTA CLUB BUILDINGS.
Address: Lakota 6 Upper York Street Bristol BS2 8QN
Council reference: 08/00155/LC
Online Reference: Not Available
Date opened: 25/Jan/2008
Status: Current

Coroner’s Court planning app on BCC website
Address: Former Coroners Court Backfields And The Lakota Club Upper York Street Stokes Croft Bristol BS2 8JW
Council reference: 07/04779/F
Online Reference: Not Available
Date opened: 01/Nov/2007
Status: Current

REFURBISHMENT AND CONVERSION OF THE FORMER CORONER’S COURT TO RESIDENTIAL USE (19 UNITS) INCLUDING DEMOLITION OF LATER ADDITIONS AND EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS. DEMOLITION OF ADJOINING LAKOTA CLUB BUILDINGS AND REPLACEMENT WITH A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING Drawings can be large files. We recommend that you click on the “thumbnail” links. The quality of the image depends on the quality of the original submission.

People’s Republic of Stokes Croft

Turbo Island Studio,
37, Jamaica Street,
Stokes Croft,
Bristol,
BS2 8JP

Mobile: 07866627052
Email: chris@prsc.org.uk
Web: http://www.prsc.org.uk

Oh, and the pic directly above? That’s the coroner’s court standing in for Peckham Town Hall in the 1996 Only Fools And Horses Christmas special, ‘Heroes And Villains‘. Guess it’s time for our councillors to decide which they are themselves…

NYC gives the finger to hip hop-hating, rackrenting, profiteering property speculators!

Looks like 1520 Sedgwick over in the Bronx – putative home of hip hop – has won itself a stay after local authorities in New York blocked a speculative sale of the building:)

1520 is not just a significant historical location, it’s also home to many working class Noo Yoikers under the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing programme, so it’s also something of a spanner in the works for the profiteers and gentrifiers.

As Kool Herc himself says:

It’s not just about 1520, it’s about all affordable housing. Every family needs a piece of the American dream.

Help save the home of hip hop!

Kool Herc’s 11/8/73 1520 Sedgwick House rec room party flyer

On August 11, 1973, in the first floor recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, hip hop was born. It was on that day that DJ Kool Herc, known as the founder of hip hop, and his sister threw the first hip hop house party. Scholars, musicians, and the media widely recognize 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, aka General Sedgwick House, in the Bronx borough of New York City, as the birthplace of hip hop, a uniquely American musical genre and culture that has taken over the world.

In recognition of its important place in American history, in July of 2007, 1520 Sedgwick was declared eligible to be listed as a state and federal landmark. Congressman Serrano of the Bronx honored Sedgwick and Kool Herc in the Congressional record.

General Sedgwick House is currently part of the Mitchell-Lama scheme, under which, in the words of the New York Times, “private landlords receive tax breaks and subsidized mortgages and, in turn, agree to limit their return on equity and rent to people who meet modest income limits. The landlords are allowed to leave their contracts after 20 years, and the rate of those choosing to do so has accelerated since 2001.” And it seems that 1520′s owners, BSR Management, want out of the scheme. Cue property bandit Mark Karasick, who’s brokered deals for ‘skyline trophy’ buildings like the Bank Of America Center in San Francisco, and Chicago’s 311 South Wacker Drive, and who has been showing an interest in the home of hip hop – but not for musicological reasons. Karasick, it seems, has a record of buying up social housing in the Bronx and then opting out of affordability programmes and selling on at market prices, at a tasty profit for his good self, naturally.

Kool Herc tells it like it isNow, after negotiations between the tenants, the owners and Karasick, it appears that BSR Management are prepared to drop the Karasick deal and sell to the tenants… For $14 million, or more than $8 million over the value of the building through controlled rents, according to the tenants!

Ahhh, the sweet smell of rackrenting, gentrification and good old American corporate greed!

But the tenants aren’t giving up without a fight – they’re working with organisations like the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Tenants & Neighbors to strike a deal with the owners that will “convert 1520 Sedgwick into a permanently affordable, limited-equity cooperative [and] save 1520 Sedgwick as affordable for the next generations of New Yorkers”. And this morning, to signal their willingness to fight for their building, they held a press conference with Kool Herc in their historic rec room to publicise details of their buy-back plan.

You can find out more about the campaign – and donate to it – at the Save 1520 website. And check the Save 1520 MySpace for updates :)

More coverage:

Whudat, AllHipHop, Soundslam, more NY Times (2007 background story),