The developer that bought and closed Lowry Grove, St. Anthony's only mobile home park, is moving ahead with plans to bring mobile homes back onto the property.
But this time around, it will be known as "Urban Grove."
A website for the new community touts the 15-acre property's lush green lawns, mature oak trees and proximity to Minneapolis, describing it as the "perfect place to put down roots."
There's no mention of the site's tangled history, including its controversial sale in 2016 and closure in 2017, which forced out nearly 100 families.
The Village bought Lowry Grove for $6 million and cleared the property with high-density redevelopment in mind. But developer Brad Hoyt, president of the Village, said Friday he no longer plans to redevelop the property. Instead, Hoyt's company has applied for 42 water hookups for new mobile homes, with the park expected to be move-in ready in June, Hoyt said.
"The City of St. Anthony has effectively denied any redevelopment of the land," he said in a statement Friday.
City leaders voted down the company's 712-unit proposal in October 2017 amid fierce pushback from some neighbors over the project's scope and height.
A retooled proposal that scaled back the density to about 430 units won city approval last year but then fell apart after St. Anthony officials indicated they likely would not provide tax-increment financing.
The developer and the city of St. Anthony remain locked in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the property. Hoyt's company sued the city last year for fraud and civil conspiracy, alleging that city officials induced the company to buy and close Lowry Grove to rid the city of the park's low-income residents of color.
The city has denied the allegations, describing the lawsuit as "completely without merit."
City Manager Mark Casey said Friday it's "within the rights of the property owner" to reinvest in the park and request the permit to tap into the city's water main for the new homes, with no City Council action required.
Hoyt said there are plans to install new water mains, fire hydrants and electrical services at the site.
Former Lowry Grove residents long raised concerns about the aging park's crumbling infrastructure. Many lived in homes that were too old or costly to move and had to leave the suburb in search of affordable housing. Homes left behind were cleared away.
As the June 30, 2017, eviction deadline loomed, neighbors in the tight-knit community mourned the loss of Frank Adelmann, a Lowry Grove resident who took his own life days before the park closure.
Gary Wonsewicz, who lived in Lowry Grove for 19 years, drives by the vacant site nearly every day and this week noticed the new "Urban Grove" banner hanging from the property's chain-link fence.
"It's kind of a slap in the face for us former residents," said Wonsewicz, a railroad carpenter. "There's a lot of tears and literally blood shed over that fiasco that they pushed upon us."
The new homes now planned for the site will be priced under $99,000, Hoyt said.
The Urban Grove website shows photos of homes with sleek countertops and decor, touting amenities such as a clubhouse and community garden.