Some residents of another large apartment complex in Newport will need to move for renovation
Newport leaders say they were caught off guard by news that some residents of another large apartment complex must move soon.
Those residents live at Riverchase, a 204 unit complex across the street from the city's long-awaited Ovation development.
The news comes months after residents of another large, 232-unit apartment complex across the street from Ovation called Victoria Square learned they will have to leave. Some of those residents have been applying at Riverchase.
Connie Matthews, who has lived in Riverchase for more than 20 years, came to the Sept. 19 Newport City Commission meeting with fellow resident Beverly Reese to voice concern.
Matthews received a notice that she will need to be out by the end of November; Reese says she will have to leave by the end of the year.
"I feel sorry for the people who live at Victoria Square, and I'm going through the same thing," Matthews said. "I'm looking for a place as I speak."
New owners, through management Towne Properties, gave some tenants letters last month saying they must leave to make way for renovations. That letter says that due to exceedingly poor conditions on the property, renovations will take place soon and that the tenants' building will need to be emptied. Other buildings will follow.
The letter also suggests that tenants would be welcome to apply for other units at the property, but that availability would be limited.
Riverchase changed hands in May for roughly $23 million.
Newport City Manager Thom Fromme said at a Newport City Commission caucus Oct. 3 the city was told that the tenants wouldn't be receiving those letters and was shocked when residents told their stories at the commission meeting.
"Just the week before that, I had been told — we had been told — that this was not going to happen," he said. "So I'm at a loss for words."
Fromme said that arranging a meeting with the owners previously had been difficult, but that city officials are speaking with them this week to discuss code issues accrued under previous owners.