Mobile home parks sold and rents raised

by Jordan Green

Hundreds of Guilford County mobile home dwellers will pay rent to a new landlord next year following a nationwide auction on Dec. 15. In at least three mobile home parks in the county those rents have recently been ratcheted up, presumably to make the properties more salable.

Five parks in Guilford County previously owned by Denver-based Affordable Residential Communities, or ARC, went on the auction block in Chicago. Jim MacDonnell, executive managing director of the Sheldon Goode auction firm, said he believes the Guilford County properties were acquired by another manufactured home operator. Some residents had privately expressed fears that developers would buy up the lots and force them out.

‘“I think it was sold to another manufactured home operator rather than a redevelopment interest,’” MacDonnell said on Dec. 16. ‘“The pricing was in line with the other sales, which were to manufactured home operators.’”

MacDonnell said the names of the buyers can’t be released until sales are finalized.

The five Guilford County parks sold on Dec. 15 include Oakwood Forest in northeast Greensboro, Village Park near the western split between Business 85 and Interstate 40, Autumn Forest in Browns Summit, Gallant Estates on Burlington Road, and Woodlake on the outskirts of Pleasant Garden.

The five parks hold a total of 1,398 home sites, according to figures provided by MacDonnell, with the largest number of homes at Oakwood Forest, at 469 home sites. MacDonnell said ARC unloaded 71 parks containing about 15,000 home sites across the country at the Chicago auction. At the time of the sale, ARC was listed as the largest manufactured home operator in the nation by Hoovers, a business information company.

Rent increases in at least three Guilford County mobile parks will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2006.

Residents at Village Park received a letter on Nov. 23 stating that rents would increase from $270 to $285, and from $275 to $290 per month. Mobile home residents typically pay rent for lots and purchase and maintain their own trailers.

The letter from Community Manager Lisa Gaines and District Manager Bonnie Watson states: ‘“Affordable Residential Communities (ARC) considers many factors prior to raising rent in its communities. Among the factors evaluated are the rates of comparable communities offering similar amenities. ARC believes in creating communities that are not only desirable place to live, but also protect the value of your home.’”

Rent will increase by $30 per month and trash pick-up fees will increase at Woodlake, while rent will increase by $30 at Oakwood Forest, according to knowledgeable sources.

-Jordan Green