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Florida A&M University buys an apartment complex to help with its student housing shortage

The Light House at Brooklyn Yard apartment complex at 636 Eugenia Street in Tallahassee.
gBeil
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FAMU
Florida A&M University is in the process of purchasing buildings and land near campus to better provide students with campus housing. This complex is at the corner of Eugenia and Conklin St.

Florida A&M University has purchased the 118-bed Light House at Brooklyn Yard apartment complex on Eugenia Street. The complex sits on the northwest perimeter of the campus. The university has entered a management agreement with Off Campus Housing LLC.

The $12.65 million price tag includes 1.3 acres of vacant land that can be developed for housing and retail.

“This is a historic day for Florida A&M University. It’s going to give us a presence along FAMU Way beyond the roundabout,” said FAMU president Dr. Larry Robinson at a news conference announcing the acquisition. “This is an investment in FAMU’s future.”

FAMU is trying to solve a higher demand for on-campus housing. Several aging residence halls are scheduled for demolition, and the university is planning to add up to 2000 on-campus beds in the next few years.

Ahead of the fall semester, with rising rent prices and more applicants for admission, the FAMU Office of Housing saw a spike in requests for on-campus housing. But, Robinson says discussions about acquiring the townhouse complex were already underway.

“We’ve been looking at this option over here for years,” Robinson said. “This is one important piece of the puzzle. We have a lot more important work to do. Our team is excited about getting busy solving the rest of the puzzle.”

Light House purchase press conference
FAMU
Dr. Larry Robinson and FAMU leaders announce the purchase of additional student housing near campus.

University leaders also see the purchase as an opportunity to boost retention and graduation rates, while giving FAMU flexibility in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university says 75 percent of the current residents at the complex are FAMU students. Other tenants include FAMU employees and Florida State University students.

The Division of Student Affairs plans to conduct a contest to rename the residence.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.