Majority Equity Investment in First Phase $40.7 MM Total Project Closed July 2020
Student housing for Native American founded University of North Carolina Pembroke, one of three “NC Promise” campuses, with affordable tuition for low-income students. Powered by on-site solar.
*at time of investment
*all impacts projected as of project closing date
698 Prospect in Pembroke, North Carolina, is a student housing project, partly powered by on-site solar, which will serve the population of the Native American founded University of North Carolina Pembroke (UNCP).
UNCP is one of three “NC Promise” campuses in the UNC system, which limits in- state tuition costs to $500 per semester in an effort to keep college affordable to low-income students. Future enrollment at UNCP is currently being limited by a lack of affordable student housing. The project will address this shortage of affordable housing at UNCP, thereby increasing access to a college education for low-income students.
UNCP is designated as a Native-American Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI). UNCP was founded by seven Native Americans with regional tribal affiliations to provide access to education for groups otherwise denied that right. Pembroke is the home of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest Native American Tribe east of the Mississippi. Most of the town of Pembroke’s roughly 3,000 people are members of the tribe. The University and the Lumbee Tribe enjoy a strong partnership. The development team for the project includes EquityPlus and a Lumbee- owned firm, Lumbee-University One at Pembroke.
Rooftop solar arrays offset about 25% of the project’s energy needs. In addition, exterior lighting is solar powered. The developer expects to install a similar system in upcoming phases to increase the percentage of energy needs offset by solar. Solar carports and a solar-covered walkway for students walking to class are also planned.
"The first phase of the project will create 48 four-bedroom units with 192 beds of student housing adjacent to the university in this small, rural town. A second phase of the project will create 90 additional units with 306 beds. The second phase also includes 20,000 square feet of retail space.
The project is consistent with and supports the town’s plan for downtown revitalization. The retail component of the project second’s phase will help create 30-40 jobs at small businesses that will occupy the commercial space.
Pembroke is located in Robeson County, where 40 percent of the population are Lumbee tribal members. The county is one of 431 “persistent poverty counties” in the country, a classification which means that 20 percent or more of its population has lived in poverty for at least 30 years. In July 2020, the fund closed on an investment for a majority stake and is the only outside equity investor in the project’s first $13.5 million phase. The total cost of the project is projected to be about $41 million over two phases.