Privatized housing coming to McConnell

  • Published
  • By Col. Mark Evans
  • 22nd Mission Support Group commander
Privatized housing is coming soon to McConnell! The highest ranked offeror has been selected for the Continental Group Military Housing Privatization Initiative project.

On May 7, 2011, the Air Force announced Picerne Military Housing as the developer of the MHPI project that encompasses six bases in five states. The Continental Group includes McConnell Air Force Base, Edwards AFB, Calif., Eglin AFB, Fla., Eielson AFB, Ala., Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. and Hurlburt Field, Fla., and will involve the construction of 1,535 new units and renovation of 1,595 units - a total of 3,130 units in the initial five-year development period. Here at McConnell the project will construct 173 new units (replacing the 50 year-old Capehart units) and renovate 191 Post Acquisition Improvement Program and Spicer units for an end-state of 364 housing units.

The new housing units at McConnell will consist of single-family and duplex units with attached two-car garages. All units will be larger than those built under the traditional military construction programs of the past--the minimum square footage of these new houses will be over 1,700 square feet. Units will be built to Energy Star standards to promote energy efficiency and reduce consumption. The PAIP and Spicer units will also be upgraded to meet Energy Star criteria.

Picerne realizes that military members do not have to live in privatized housing and that they need to build homes and provide amenities that will attract military members--their proposal reflected that. In addition to new and renovated houses, tenants living in Picerne housing can expect community amenities like community centers, pools, splash parks, sports courts, playgrounds and dog parks.

We will be working with Picerne over the next several months to complete documentation and plans concerning the project. During this exclusive negotiation period we can make changes to what the developer proposed and what McConnell would like--so nothing is final until project closing date, which is expected to be in the fall of this year. While we are in the negotiation phase, we welcome input from our current and prospective residents on what kind of community amenities they would like to see included in the project. We will keep residents informed of the status of the project on the base's housing privatization web site and at periodic town hall meetings. Once we move into the construction phase, Picerne's Communications Plan will incorporate a variety of programs to keep families up-to-date on the housing development. The plan will provide bi-weekly updates.

Picerne is a well-established developer. It has over 10 years experience in the Department of Defense's Military Housing Privatization Initiative program, having already built over 20,000 units at seven installations including Pope AFB, N.C. In addition, Picerne has been in business as a family-owned company for over 85 years as owner, developer, constructor and manager of residential communities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. They are still managing properties that they've had in their portfolio since 1948.

Picerne's "Family First" management style is to make decisions with focused on the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction. The structure of the deal is set up so a majority of the property management fees that Picerne earns are incentive based--so if they don't perform they don't get paid. Picerne also performs quarterly customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that the needs and wants of the residents are being met. Finally, Picerne will provide a $40,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant to members from each base in the Continental Group.

In 1996, Congress created the Military Housing Privatization Initiative as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Since then privatization has been a powerful tool, providing a mechanism for the Air Force to significantly improve housing for Airmen and their families at a far more rapid rate than would have otherwise been possible. To date, the Air Force has privatized some 38,000 homes at 44 bases. Since 2009, resident satisfaction rating for housing privatization has surpassed those of government-owned housing with almost 85 percent of residents saying they would recommend privatized housing to a friend or family member.

We look forward to developing close, long-term relationship with Picerne and ensuring that privatized military family housing at McConnell is a winning outcome for everyone.