New student housing supports University of North Carolina’s Pembroke goal to increase access to colleges

THE WOODS, Texas, 25 August 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund, a high-impact commercial real estate opportunities fund created by Woodforest National Bank® and CEI-Boulos Capital Management, has announced its $ 3 million acquisition of a stake in 698 Prospect, a student housing project, partly powered by solar energy on site, which will serve the population of University of North Carolina Pembroke (UNCP). UNCP is one of three “NC Promise” campuses in the A C system that limits tuition fees in the state to $ 500 per semester to keep college affordable for low-income students. Future school enrollment is constrained by the lack of affordable student housing, an issue the project will address. The UNCP is designated as a Non-Tribal Institution Serving Native Americans (NASNTI). The UNCP was founded by seven Native American members with regional tribal affiliations to provide access to education to groups otherwise deprived of this right. Most of the city of by Pembroke 3,000 people are members of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, the largest Native American tribe east of Mississippi. Today, the University and the Lumbee Tribe enjoy a strong partnership.

The first phase of the project will create 48 four-bedroom units with 192 beds of student accommodation 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 development team includes EquityPlus and a Lumbee-owned company, Lumbee-University One at Pembroke; the property is managed by PeakMade Real Estate.

Solar panels on the roofs offset around 25% of the project’s energy needs. In addition, outdoor lighting will be powered by solar energy. The developer plans to install a similar system in the coming phases to increase the percentage of energy compensated by solar. Solar carports and a covered solar powered walkway for students walking to class are also planned.

“CEI-Boulos Capital Management is committed to harnessing the opportunity area incentive to serve its purpose – investing in catalytic projects that can help revitalize underinvested communities, such as Pembroke,” noted Sam spencer, CEO and Managing Director, CEI-Boulos Capital Management. “We are delighted to be working with our partners at Equity Plus and Lumbee-University One in Pembroke on a project with social and environmental impact. The investment is a prime example of the fund’s efforts to mobilize private capital to help address the focus on racial and economic disparities.

“Our fund is designed to meet the needs of the community,” said Doug schaeffer, Executive Vice President, CRA Executive Director, Woodforest National Bank. “By creating much-needed affordable student housing, this investment will expand access to higher education. We are excited to support pathways that will provide many first generation students with the education they need to pursue their dreams.

Pembroke is located in Robeson County, one of the country’s 431 “persistent poverty counties”, a classification that means 20 percent or more of its population has lived in poverty for at least 30 years. The project is part of and supports the city center revitalization plan. The retail component of the second phase of the project will help create 30 to 40 jobs in the small businesses that will occupy the commercial space.

“We see ourselves as an anchor economic institution for the south-east North Carolina and we proudly assume the responsibility that comes with it, ”said Jodi phelps, Head of Communications and Marketing, UNCP. “We cannot grow unless the city and the local economy grow with us. When we all thrive together, we collectively increase access to a high quality, affordable college education for students from all walks of life. “

“Without the equity investment of the Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund Opportunity Zone, the project would not be possible,” said Avram Collector, Managing Director, EquityPlus, a private investment and advisory firm serving as the developer of the project. “This is an example of investing in the Opportunity Zone that happens for the right reason and makes the difference between a project going forward or not. ”

This is one of ten high impact investments made to date by the Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund. Additional funding for the project includes a loan from Self-Help Credit Union an Durham, North Carolinacommunity development finance institution.

The Zones of Opportunity program is a community investment tool created by Congress in 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts appointed by governors and certified by the US Department of the Treasury.


Woodforest National Bank

Noëlle St. Clair, Vice President, Manager of Impact Investing and Strategic Initiatives, 856.912.3805 | [email protected] or Doug schaeffer, executive vice-president, director general of the ARC, 212.203.1428 | [email protected]

CEI-Boulos Capital Management

Elizabeth rogers, Director of Communications, CEI | [email protected]

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SOURCE Woodforest National Bank

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