A settlement agreement announced this week appears to mark the end of a heated legal battle over the sale and closure of St. Anthony's only mobile home park.
City leaders received notice about the settlement in an Aug. 1 letter and a joint statement issued by involved parties, including the developer that bought Lowry Grove and those working with former residents.
Park owners sold Lowry Grove to a developer last year, sparking a flurry of litigation and court rulings that tested a state law governing such sales. The Village, an affiliate of Wayzata-based Continental Property Group, bought the park for $6 million and closed it June 30 for redevelopment.
A key part of the legal settlement is a provision that aims to help residents who were displaced from Lowry Grove, which once held nearly 100 homes. Some homeowners moved to different mobile home parks, while others had yet to figure out permanent housing in the final hours before Lowry Grove's closure.
The Village has agreed to make an undisclosed "six-figure donation" to a new charitable fund dubbed the "Lowry Grove Resident Support Housing Fund."
"As I have said from the beginning, I am committed to helping Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park residents through this tough time," Traci Tomas, vice president of the Village, said in a statement.
The agreement also brings the nonprofit developer Aeon on board to handle an affordable housing component of the project that will replace Lowry Grove. The development agreed upon in the settlement still requires city approval. The Village's proposed project also includes market-rate apartments, senior-focused housing and townhouses.
As part of the settlement, the Village will sell about 2 acres of the 15-acre project site to Aeon, which plans to build 110 units of affordable housing, pending city approval.
Aeon worked last year with residents to match the Village's offer for Lowry Grove, which was rejected. The project marks the first time that Aeon has worked with the Village, according to Aeon President Alan Arthur.
"I think it's a natural outcome," Arthur said.
A public hearing for the proposed redevelopment project is scheduled for Aug. 28 at the city's planning commission meeting.
"I truly believe it is fair and benefits all parties involved," Tomas said of the settlement. "I know this has been a trying process for everyone."