Apartments open on former depot site in River Falls

Posted October 3, 2020

The Depot 55+ apartment complex, built on the site of the former train station in downtown River Falls, on Sept. 1 opened its doors for occupants.

The four-story, 50-unit development offer both one- and two-bedroom units for senior residents aged 55 and older. The apartments are located within the City Station apartment complex off River Street.

River Falls Community Development Director Amy Peterson said the project is managed by the Gerrard Corporation of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The funding and development for the project comes in part from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency’s (WHEDA) low-income housing tax credits, according to the Gerrard Corporation’s website. The Gerrard Corporation received slightly more than $350,000 in WHEDA credits.

According to Peterson, the idea for the project began around 10 years ago. The project was finally approved for construction in April 2019.

Peterson said the need for more senior housing grew when the city of River Falls conducted a housing study in 2017. The results showed that housing in the River Falls area was not up to standards compared to other cities of similar size within the state. The solution to this problem was to secure more housing for the community. Peterson said the study helped secure the approval that was needed for the senior housing to be built.

“Right now housing is tight for both students and residents, especially senior citizens,” said Peterson. “The tight housing market drove the need for these senior living apartments to be built.”

Peterson noted that these are the first senior living apartments to be located in downtown River Falls.

“Residents have close access to grocery stores, the shops in downtown and the walking trails around the area,” Peterson said. The apartments are income restricted, which sets them apart from other senior living facilities located around River Falls.

“Having these apartments be income restricted allows us to put an income cap on potential tenants,” Peterson said. “That is one element that makes these apartments unique.”

Since opening for occupancy in early September about half of the units have been rented, according to Peterson.