Residents of Yorktown Apartments push back against Collegiate School demolition plan
Renters at three deteriorating Louisville apartment buildings are seeking support from the school that plans to tear them down.
A group of Yorktown residents, the Louisville Tenants Union, a group pushing for housing rights, and local activists rallied Wednesday to make public demands of the Louisville Collegiate School, which plans to demolish the Yorktown Apartments to build a parking lot.
Patrick McCarthy moved to the Yorktown Apartments in 2021. He said living in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood is valuable, allowing him to take care of his mother and support himself by walking when his car broke down.
“I’m retired, I’m on a fixed income. If I want to stay around here, I can’t find anything less than $1,100 to $1,200 a month, which is unacceptable for my income,” McCarthy said.
He added that maintenance has gotten worse in the apartments since the beginning of 2022, and alleged Collegiate bought the property expecting to eventually tear down the buildings.
The tenants and their supporters want Collegiate to:
- help residents find another apartment within 2 miles of Yorktown
- cover all residents’ moving costs
- avoid implementing a hard deadline for tenants to move or face eviction
- cover the increase in rent for residents for a year after they move
The prestigious private school bought the buildings in 2015. Representatives have said they aim to reduce congestion and improve safety on nearby streets by expanding parking for students and their families.
Opponents of the move have criticized Collegiate, which has some of the highest tuition in the state, for pushing out residents and destroying low-cost housing units in an area where median rent costs around $1,000, and in a city dealing with a shortage of houses affordable for low-income occupants.
The school needs approval from the Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee to demolish the buildings, but that process has been stalled since late November. A second committee hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday but was canceled the day before.
Tenants were initially told they had to move out by January 31. That date was later pushed to March 31, according to a December letter by Alltrade Property Management sent to at least one resident.
Two weeks ago, Collegiate spokesperson Elizabeth Post said residents had to leave by spring, adding there was no specific deadline.
Ange Chatham, Collegiate’s director of communications and marketing, said in an email Thursday that the deadline was spring but did not address if residents had been informed. She did not comment on the Yorktown tenants’ demands, but said the school bought the Yorktown land due to its proximity to the school.
“In 2015, Collegiate purchased the Yorktown property because it was one of the last available land parcels contiguous to our campus. This plan is a result of a multi-year process that involved discussion and master planning with Collegiate's Board of Trustees and administration,” she wrote.
Evan Bradley said he moved into the apartments last year on an 18-month lease. He criticized the school’s oversight of the buildings.
“The state and the condition of this place are exactly what Collegiate [has] allowed them to become,” Bradley said.
Alltrade is still the site’s property manager, Chatham said. Alltrade’s website was offline as of Thursday, and attempts to reach representatives were unsuccessful.
Chatham also said the school was providing direct monetary assistance to renters, as well as working with the affordable housing group LDG Development to help relocate tenants.
Christi Lanier-Robinson, LDG’s executive vice president of communications, said two weeks ago that a company social worker contacted Yorktown residents to determine if they could be relocated to their or other groups’ properties. Bradley said he was aware that LDG was working with Collegiate, but McCarthy said he had not been contacted.
Bradley added that while he received a rental assistance check, he did not know how to obtain a security deposit promised by Collegiate, and that communication with the school and Alltrade was poor.
He also alleged that Collegiate requested to reschedule the ARC meeting because it didn’t want to “face the public” on the issue, while Chatham said it was postponed due to a printing error on public notices sent out about the event.
Caitlin Bowling, a city spokesperson, said in an email Friday that the meeting had been postponed due to a printing error and was rescheduled to Feb. 8.
This story has been updated with additional information and to correct the date of the meeting.