Posts Tagged ‘Traci Tomas’

Community Gets Reprieve In Closing Case

December 28th, 2016 Comments off


In a story that the Daily Business News originally covered in September, residents at the Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park in St. Anthony, Minnesota have received news that the deadline for closing the community has been pushed from March 15 to June 30, 2017, the end of the school year.

Per MPR News, word came late in the afternoon on December 22nd, when acquirer The Village LLC announced that it had moved the closure date.

The company purchased the community in June with plans to redevelop it into a mix of apartment buildings and townhouses, which would require approximately 90 households to relocate.

A group of Lowry Grove residents sued in September to block the sale of the property, testing a state law that residents had 45 days to match an offer made on the property. Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

The offer was rejected; the residents sued, and Judge Joseph R. Klein ruled against the residents, writing in part that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park [sic]. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.

According to MPR News, residents also filed complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Fair Housing Act, contesting the sale.

Even though the HUD investigation continues, many residents have still opted to leave the community, with about one-third moving or making plans to move.

For those who remain, and have children in the St. Anthony-New Brighton School District, the extended deadline brings some welcome relief.

During our ongoing conversations with the school district about options to ensure school age children would be able to complete the school year without changing schools, we learned it would be even more beneficial to allow them to remain in their homes through the end of the school year,” said Traci Tomas, vice president of The Village.

We offered to delay the park [sic] closure three months as a way of easing the impact the closure will have on the residents and their children. I am proud that open lines of communication led to this agreement with the residents.” ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Battle Over Community Owner’s Rights vs. Resident’s Rights highlighted in St. Anthony case

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

lowrygrovecreditstartribunestanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsResidents of the Lowry Grove community in the Minneapolis, MN suburb of St. Anthony lost their bid to block the sale of the property, according to a ruling by a Hennepin County Judge.

We continue working together to save Lowry Grove. We will organize more action,” said Antonia Alvarez, president of the Lowry Grove Resident Association, per the Star Tribune’s report. I understand they are very rich, but we have community support.”

The ruling is a blow to the residents who sued to keep the park open. A state law drafted in 1991 was designed to give manufactured home owners the right of first refusal to buy land in the event it was put up for sale.

paulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsPaul Bradley, president of ROC USA posed the following question to MHProNews. “How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?”

Judge Joseph R. Klein wrote, in part, that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.judgejosephkleincreditmncourtsgovstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1


This is believed to be the first major legal test of the law.

The owners of Lowry Grove, LLC notified residents in April that they intended to sell the property to The Village LLC, a subsidiary of Wayzata, MN based Continental Property Group, for $6 million. The Village announced that they would close the park in a year and redevelop the 15 acres of land.

Fearing the loss of access to good schools and safe streets, the residents prepared to respond.

Under state law, residents had 45 days to match the offer. Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.


Lowry Grove residents protesting.

The offer was rejected.

On June 13, the sale to The Village became final. Aeon Management and Lowry Grove residents sued, arguing that the law, and their civil rights, had been violated.



The Lowry Grove RV park and manufactured home community is on a prime parcel of real estate, as this Google earth image reflects.

When the statue was passed, said Judge Klein, the intent was clear.

Should a park be sold contrary to [the law] the only remedy the residents in the park have is to sue under a violation of this law for something besides ownership of the land, said Judge Klein.

Explaining further, Klein wrote that lawmakers were balancing competing priorities when passing the statute, giving manufactured homeowners a tool to protect their homes while not overtly interfering with park owner’s ability to sell their property.”

tomastracicreditiremmnstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1We are pleased with, but not surprised by, Judge Klein’s ruling,” said The Village Vice President Traci Tomas in a written statement. “From the beginning, we’ve realized that this is a difficult situation for the residents. That has never been something we’ve taken lightly.”

Tomas has also denied violating the state statute, countering that residents didn’t meet all the criteria. She also shared where the Village’s focus is.

Right now, we are focused on those who have expressed a desire to complete their move before winter sets in,” Tomas said. “We are working with the City of St. Anthony so residents can submit applications to the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund for financial assistance that will help with their relocation.”

jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsJim Ayotte, Executive Director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), provided commentary on a similar situation with the Denver Meadows community in Aurora, CO in his column on MHProNews. “It costs money to create affordable housing, which local governments don’t have, and it is more politically expedient to put the screws to a business owner and get favorable press for protecting a group of economically challenged homeowners.

This is unfair to the private sector and, quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” says Ayotte. “What that said, it is the responsibility of all parties to do the right thing.”alanarthuraeoncreditmprnewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1

Aeon Management CEO Alan Arthur commented, “I am sad that our world seems to value bottom line financial returns more than it does people.” Aeon is also exploring other legal options for Lowry Grove residents.

The struggle over community owner’s property rights vs. land-lease community resident rights continues, and the Daily Business News plans to track this story to its conclusion. ##

(Editor’s Note: Equity LifeStyle Communities Chairman Sam Zell’s view on property owners rights is published exclusively in a report on MHProNews, linked here.

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC WIlliams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.

First Time First Right of Refusal Law in Minn. Will be Tested

August 11th, 2016 Comments off

Minn_mhc_Lowry_Park_closing__theuptake_credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFollowing the ongoing saga of the Lowry Grove manufactured home community (MHC) in Minneapolis that has filed suit to reverse the sale of their community for not being offered first right of refusal, as MHProNews reported Aug. 8, 2016, an amicus brief from the state attorney general’s office in support of the residents may tip the balance, according to lillienews. The state’s interest stems from the failure of the seller to offer it first to the residents as required by state law.

The community found a backer for the $6 million to match the buyers price, a nonprofit called Aeon that provided funding at the last minute, just as owner Phil Johnson inked the deal with Continental Property Group (CPG), led by President Traci Thomas. The new owner intends to develop the 15 acres, and has said she will discuss possible future plans regarding the property with city officials, including affordable housing.

There will, for sure, be an affordable housing component, I’ve said that all along, but how much, how many units, all of that stuff is yet to be decided,” Tomas said in an interview. She had originally offered more money than the state requires to help residents with relocation costs. When asked if the affordable units will be comparable to the $400 monthly site rent at Lowry Grove, she said no.

The residents of Lowry Grove would prefer to retain their tight-knit community as it stands. The case is scheduled is to be heard in court later this month. ##

(Photo credit: theuptake–Lowry Grove manufactured housing community)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

MH Community Residents Organizing to Prevent Closing of Lowry Grove in Minnesota

May 4th, 2016 Comments off

Minneapolis__lowry_grove__mhvillage__creditFollowing a post MHProNews published April 30, 2016 regarding the planned closing of Lowry Grove manufactured home community (MHC) in St. Anthony, a suburb of Minneapolis, tcdailyplanet reports residents of the community have gathered to discuss their options in trying to maintain Lowry as their home.

They would have to raise $6 million as a cooperative to counter Continental Property Group’s bid to purchase it from Lowry Group LLC. The contract finalizing the sale is set to be signed June 11.

Another option would be to convince Continental to maintain it as an MHC, but as MHProNews reported, managing partner Phil Johnson said the infrastructure is 70 years old and would have to be upgraded in the 96 home site community.The park no longer meets the standards of modern manufactured home communities,” he said in a letter to the residents.

President of CPG, Traci Tomas, who once worked at Lowry, said the company plans on including some affordable housing options in the redevelopment, which she said would be residential.

State law requires property owners to provide relocation assistance when an MHC is closed for redevelopment. While CPG has said it will offer $2,000 to $10,000 to each family, many of the residents have homes that are too old to move, and many of whom are Latino, say their community is in danger of being destroyed.

They and their supporters plan to attend the May 10 St. Anthony Village city council meeting to plead their case. City planners have urged redevelopment of the land for several years.

Johnson says developers have approached him numerous times about the property, noting its proximity to a shopping center. ##

(Photo credit: MHVillage–Lowry Grove, St. Anthony, MN)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.