In an effort to entice the sale of a troubled apartment complex, the city of Roseville is offering as much as $5 million in aid to new owners who fix up the property and keep it affordable.

The Roseville City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, voted this week to create an affordable housing tax-increment financing district that primarily encompasses the privately owned Marion Street/The Brittanys Apartments.

The TIF district allows the city to redistribute property-tax dollars to new owners of the 277-unit complex who improve the property while keeping rents affordable. City staff estimated that will amount to about $5 million over the next two decades.

"Preserving affordable housing, but then also making sure it's quality housing, is a huge goal of the city and this area," said Council Member Jason Etten.

The amount of assistance the city would provide new owners would depend on specific rehabilitation and preservation plans and how they align with the city's goals.

The city and the current apartments owners — formerly G & G Management but now registered as RSR Management LLC — have been at odds for more than a year.

Roseville suspended the rental license for the entire complex in November 2019, citing dangerous and unhealthy conditions including leaky roofs, missing smoke detectors, cockroaches, mold and general disrepair. It was the first time the Ramsey County suburb had suspended a rental license at a large complex since it began licensing rentals in 2014.

The complex couldn't accept new renters until the license was reinstated, but those living there have been allowed to stay and still pay rent.

Last summer, nonprofit landlord Aeon entered into a purchase agreement to buy the beleaguered complex, but that deal fell through.

City staff and council members grew frustrated at the quality and slow rate of repairs in the first half of 2020 and threatened to sue the owners in September. The owners finally hired a new property management company, Minnetonka-based Core Living, last fall, which has made more than $1 million repairs. The city has reinstated the licenses of four of the 12 buildings.

"As these properties regain their rental licenses, it is believed the current owners intend to relist the properties for sale," according to a city report. "A non-mission-orientated buyer would be more likely to raise rents and less motivated to ensure existing tenants can remain."

Shannon Prather • 651-925-503