More Nashville Residents Fight Displacement After Investor Buys Apartment Complex

Mar 29, 2017

Residents are pushing back as yet another one of Nashville’s affordable apartment complexes gets snapped up by investors. A group of Somali immigrants have banded together against a private equity firm set to take over their apartment building in Southeast Nashville.

On Tuesday, residents stood outside the offices of Covenant Capital Group, demanding a meeting. And, they got one. The company committed to giving them an additional two months in their apartments after telling residents they had until Friday to move out.

Abdirizak Alas emerged from the meeting beaming. He’d just bought his family, and dozens more, another 60 days in their homes at the Prestige Point apartment complex, his home for the past 14 years.  

“I feel great,” Alas said. “The management of the apartment, owners, they dealing with us great and now we are OK.”

But even with the reprieve, some tenants, like Mary Okain, worry about finding a new place to live.  

“How are we going to find a place for 30 days?” Okain said. “It’s too crammed now in Nashville. You cannot find apartment.”

In January, Covenant Capital Group purchased Prestige Pointe, a 170-unit apartment complex, for $8 million. A short time later, tenants received letters telling them their leases were being terminated.

Councilman Fabian Bedne, who helped broker the meeting between Covenant and the residents, says the city has a crisis on its hands.

“This is just one example, one symptom of a bigger problem in Nashville,” Bedne said. “The city is growing. Housing that used to be low income housing are now middle class. So people on the lower income workforce, they just can’t find a place to live.”

For Prestige residents, beyond the extension, they’re asking for financial support for their moves, the right to return to the renovated complex, and a commitment by the new owners to keep the units affordable. Covenant has yet to address those additional requests.