Agency wants to buy Rochester apartments to keep rent low

Center Street Village has 36 two-bedroom units.

Posted: Jan 6, 2020 1:04 PM
Updated: Jan 21, 2020 5:13 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – An effort is underway to preserve Center Street Village apartments in Rochester.

First Homes, a housing-focused subsidiary of the Rochester Area Foundation, says it is looking into buying the apartments to maintain them as “Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH).” First Homes says the 36 two-bedroom units at Center Street Village currently have rental rates affordable by people making less than 50 percent of the median income for the area.

“For 20 years, First Homes’ vision has been to provide opportunities for low and moderate income families to secure housing in the Rochester area that is decent and affordable. We are making every effort to realize that vision by preserving an important affordable rental option in Rochester,” says Jennifer Woodford, President of Rochester Area Foundation and First Homes. “When we have safe, secure places to live, kids do better in school, health and well-being improve, communities prosper, and we all thrive.”

NOAH units are considered residential properties that are affordable, but unsubsidized by any federal program and with low rents compared to the area housing market. First Homes says it would be a significant loss if Center Street Village apartments were sold and redeveloped into more expensive housing.

First Homes says it’s being joined in this effort for the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing, Olmsted County HRA, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, and the many donors who continue to support First Homes. It would be one of the largest NOAH projects in the area to date.

On Tuesday, January 21, First Homes presented to Olmsted County HRA, asking it to partner with First Homes and approve a loan. The HRA approved the request.

First Homes is moving forward with its purchase of the property and hopes to close on the apartment complex in mid-February.

The units currently cost between $750-1,100. First Homes says this could slightly change, but not dramatically. Current tenants will be allowed to stay at the apartments but future renter will have income qualifications.

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