SOUTH BRONX, New York City (WABC) -- Hip Hop legends joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Thursday to break ground on the first phase of Bronx Point, which will include the permanent home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum.
Nas, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Naughty by Nature, Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick, Michael Bivins and EMPD were all in attendance, joined by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, City Council Member Diana Ayala and other city officials.
"Hip hop is one of those things that really gave my life meaning," LL Cool J said. "It made me feel like I really could do something with my life."
The much-anticipated $349 million mixed-use project along the Harlem River waterfront in the South Bronx is being developed by L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects, co-hosts of the groundbreaking ceremony.
"It taught me more than schools taught me, believe it or not," Nas said. "I'm proud to be here in the mecca of hip hop, the Bronx."
Bronx Point's first phase will deliver 542 units of permanently affordable housing to the Lower Concourse neighborhood, along with approximately 2.8 acres of public open space.
"I came up with a technique by placing my fingertips on the records," Grandmaster Flash said. "Here we are, almost 47 years later...Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, this is a really special."
Additionally, the project will deliver an array of cultural and community-focused programming, including the museum, an early childhood space run by BronxWorks, and outdoor science programming run by the Billion Oyster Project.
"It's going to be be global destination," Diaz said. "It's going to be an economic engine."
The museum has been in the works for a decade, its assets chronicling the global ascent of hip hop.
"This museum is being built by those who come from hip hop," Executive Director Rocky Bucano said. "It's not coming from outside of hip hop."
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The event, which also served as the official launch of the Universal Hip Hop Museum's capital campaign, featured remarks from museum representatives, Empire State Development Corporation, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Bronx Community Board #4, Wells Fargo, and BronxWorks.
"We need to say that this history is our history," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We did something here. You did something here no one else created."
For more on the Universal Hip Hop Museum, visit UHHM.org/.
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