FAMU buys apartment complex near campus

FAMU President Robinson during Monday’s news conference. Photo courtesy: Ranyah McCloud

Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, standing in front of the Lighthouse at Brooklyn Yard apartment complex, announced Monday the purchase of the complex from Summit Properties along with a management arrangement for the remainder of the year.

The property on Eugenia Street near campus will increase the number of beds by 118 for FAMU’s student housing. The $12.65 million purchase is the largest in the university’s history, Robinson said. It also includes 1.3 acres of undeveloped land that can be used for future development. The funding for the project came from the federal Department of Education.

This follows an increase in freshman enrollment that created a significant waiting period for on-campus housing. Hundreds of students, many of them freshmen, were left looking for off-campus housing at the beginning of the academic school year.

Robinson said that the plan to purchase the apartment complex was already set back in spring before the housing crisis made headlines.

“This is one important piece of the puzzle; we have a lot more work to do and my team is excited to get busy to solve the rest of this puzzle,” Robinson said.

Student body president Zachary Bell expressed his gratitude for this new steppingstone for FAMU.

“It is a great day to be a Rattler, as a resident of what is formally known as Rattler Pointe and now Lighthouse at Brooklyn Yard, it is so good to see that this is now a part of FAMU,” Bell said. “To be a residence hall I cannot wait to connect the memories that I have here at this apartment to those of future Rattlers. So, to Dr. Robinson, the board, and the entire team thank you so much and this is a big step for FAMU.”

A concern that came up during the news conference is the status of the residents who are currently living in the apartment complex and where they stand in this new endeavor.  Robinson made it clear that there are things still being worked out but he said that the FAMU students have nothing to worry about because this is a step to help FAMU’s housing situation.

Florida State University student Dayana Parham, a resident at the complex, is concerned about where she will be living.

“I didn’t know about the press conference; I didn’t even know they finalized the decision, but our leasing manager gave us a heads up that they were planning on doing this anyways,” Parham said. “I was just scared that it was going to happen during the terms of the lease because she said she didn’t know yet and that it was to be determined, I just hope they let us know.”