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New owner of Richmond apartment complex hopes to provide more affordable housing

Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 05:25:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority announced Tuesday they are the new owner of the Grace Place Apartments at 400 E. Grace Street.

In a press conference, the CEO of the RRHA, Steven Nesmith, said they acquired the building to bring about more affordable housing, but also because of hearing about concerns over the conditions from residents.

“We have serious concerns about the condition of this building which may be safety and a hazard to those living here,” Nesmith said.

CBS 6 reported on these concerns after numerous tenants reached out to the Problem Solvers team with concerns about conditions like mold, bugs and failing structures.

Franklin Capital Group previously owned and managed the building while the RRHA owned the land.

As of December 15, 2022, RRHA has purchased the property and said they paid the back taxes that they say were delinquent from the prior ownership.

The RRHA said their interest in owning the property is to create equitable and affordable housing and community revitalization.

In the coming weeks, they said they will have experts come in to assess the structure and conditions of the building. The RRHA said there appears outwardly to be issued with heat, air, electricity and more.

The Franklin Capital Group told CBS 6 to reach out to the RRHA in March when CBS 6 brought resident concerns to them. However, RRHA told CBS 6 that the Franklin Capital Group is responsible for maintaining the building.

“It breaks my heart. Everyone in Richmond deserves to be living in safe affordable and sound and healthy conditions,” Nesmith said.

RRHA said they anticipate having to relocate the roughly 15 tenants that currently live in the apartments.

These tenants under prior leadership had to relocate temporarily when the building failed inspections last year and was threatened to again this past spring, according to past CBS6 reporting.

The RRHA said this is something they don’t want to do but have to do and will work one on one with RRHA relocation specialists to help families find alternative housing.

“We’re not willing to risk the lives of the residents living here,” Nesmith said.

As the assessment process takes place, the RRHA ownership has brought in security on-site to promote safety and prohibit any type of illegal activity.

RRHA said they will update the public when they learn more from accessors about the time it will take to make needed repairs and the cost.

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