Partnership with non-profit keeps Richfield apartments affordable

Hundreds of apartment renters in Richfield took a deep breath of relief on Thursday, thanks to the purchase of one of the city’s largest low-income housing complexes.

The result of a partnership between Aeon, a public housing non-profit, and the Community Development Trust, means rent won’t increase. Families that live at the Season’s Park Apartments can afford to stay.

After a scare that the complex would be sold to an investor last spring, city and state leaders called the partnership a major win.

When the sale would have meant an increase in rent, Aeon and the Community Development Trust jumped in. As of Thursday, they now own the property.

At the Season’s Park Apartments, Alan Arthur has big plans. Arthur is with Aeon, and plans to make all 422 units as nice and updated as the model.

“Our goal is to make sure that when people walk in the door, it feels like home,” said Arthur.

The housing stability means that the family will be able to stay at Seasons Park. More than 60 percent of them are Spanish speaking immigrants, relieved that they can stay in their homes.

Additionally, keeping the residents there is critical to city leaders.

“There is very limited affordable housing, period, for anybody, homeowners or renters,” said Maria Regan Gonzalez, a Richfield City Council member. “And, on top of that, wages have been stagnant or decreasing, and there’s a lot of insecurity right now in and lot of areas of employment for our families.”

Richfield has been down this road once before.

When the Crossroads Concierge apartment complex changed hands just over a year ago, families moved out, affecting the local schools.

The school district itself lost state funding and jobs. Steve Unowsky, Richfield Schools Superintendent, told Fox 9 that they cannot lose any more.

“There’s almost 250 students living in Seasons Park,” said Unowsky. “So if the pattern of Season’s Park followed the Crossroads Concierge, we’d be looking at multiple millions of dollars, and an extremely large number of staff. It would have been unbelievably devastating.”