How luxury apartments in Uptown affect low-income tenants in Frogtown

The sale of two apartment complexes in the Twin Cities suburbs focused attention on what some see as an opportunity — and others see as a real problem.

Crossroads at Penn in Richfield and Meadowbrook Manor in St. Louis Park were middle-aged apartment complexes that offered a large supply of what has become known as naturally occurring affordable housing, NOAH for short.

They aren’t public and they aren’t subsidized, but their owners did accept state and federal housing vouchers that helped low-income tenants pay the rent.

All that changed when they were sold, though. Crossroads, for example, became The Concierge, but only after the existing tenants were either priced out or unable to meet more stringent qualifications. Higher credit scores, higher income limits, caps on the number of tenants per bedroom and the refusal to accept Section 8 vouchers all combined to make it difficult for low-income tenants, especially families, to requalify, even if they could afford the new rent.

The two buildings are the most conspicuous example of the domino effect at play in the Twin Cities rental market and its response to more well-off renters, according to a recent study by the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

The affordable housing advocacy group found that in recent years, in response to more renters with incomes in excess of $100,000 a year, developers rushed into the luxury apartment market. But they also found that as the luxury market boomed, other developers saw an opportunity to cater to the next economic rung down, often in the next neighborhood over.

Read the full story online at MinnPost.

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