After years of standing up to drug lords and murderers, poor families at Jose de Diego Beekman Houses are getting even more relief.
Hundreds of families there have gotten a commitment to keep their rents affordable, with the city stepping in to refinance the complex’ $19 million mortgage at a lower rate, producing a savings for the 1,231-unit complex that will go to help hold down the rents.
City Comptroller John Liu handled the refinancing of the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage through the city’s Employees Retirement System and the Police Pension Fund.
Pensioners benefit from the investment thanks to its financial returns of 6%.
“Diego Beekman Houses serves as a source of inspiration for all New Yorkers fighting to beat the economic odds stacked against them,” Liu said .
On top of affordable rent, money will also go towards repairs and upgrades for the Mott Haven structure.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also allocated $600,000 for security cameras to help curb crime.
The 38-building complex was being managed byh the Continental Wingate management firm. But through the years the complex turned into a nasty tenement.
Its darkest period was in the 80s when a drug gang essentially ran the complex, intimidating tenants with murder.
The gang, calling itself The Cowboys, were responsible for over a dozen killings, officials said.
Tenants pushed the federal Department of Housing and Urban Developmentpartment to remove Wingate after reports of fraud and neglect surfaced.
The federal agency asked the FBI and police to launch a massive takedown of the gang in the 90s.
HUD soon poured in millions to fix the property. By 2003, the agency transferred the property to the Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association, operated by residents and outside housing experts.
The association is currently operated by Arline Parks, a longtime resident who stayed at Beekman Houses for the sake of family and improving the building.
“You can actually walk the streets,” said Parks.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383