A military housing complex project on US Southern Command land in Doral will provide more than 50 acres of affordable housing to military members and their families who serve at the command’s headquarters. Construction is set to begin in the fall.
The project will be the first military housing complex built in South Florida since the closure of military housing at Homestead Air Force Base in 1992 due to Hurricane Andrew. The project consists of 139 units, including 60 apartment units for 120 lone personnel. , 24 duplexes, 48 townhouses and seven single family homes.
“This multimillion-dollar housing project, which has been invaluable to our military service members, required extensive planning, coordination and resources,” said General Laura Richardson, commander of US Southern Command. “I think of a quote from Panama’s Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino: ‘Individually we are strong, but together we are invincible.’ That quote is so true.
Using a process outlined in the Military Housing Privatization Initiative approved by Congress in 1996, the project will leverage private sector funding, extensive experience and expertise in planning, design and construction of housing to meet military housing needs, A spokesman for the Southern Command said.
A press release states that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working closely with the military through 2020 to transfer up to 51.7 acres of FAA land to the military.
“The US Department of Defense (DoD) has a collection of developers with whom we have a business arrangement,” said Gen. Scott A. Jackson, chief of staff for Southern Command. “Among that group, this proposal was put out there, some developers submitted their proposals, and then DoD made a selection.”
Gen. Jackson said Southern Command has partnered with Lend Lease, an investment, development and construction company that has an extensive history of working with the DOD on other privatized housing projects.
“Since we’re talking about a 50-year lease, it’s a type of business agreement where a company partners with the DOD by financing the construction, taking over the ownership of the homes, and operating and maintaining the homes for life.” The lease agreement,” the spokesperson said. “This helps ensure not only the quality of the housing built, but also the quality of its maintenance over that 50-year period.”
He added that once the service members occupy the accommodation, they pay rent to the company for their accommodation. Rent is set equal to the basic housing allowance service members receive, and this allowance is determined based on the average cost of housing in the local area. This will ease the financial challenges of soldiers living in a high cost community like Miami.
Gen. Jackson said, after the 50-year lease, the land and its assets would return to the Department of Defense and it could offer another lease package for a private industry to maintain and operate.
The design of the housing complex has been completed, and the project is in pre-construction. It has been in the works since 2015, said General Jackson, gathering momentum in 2020.
It will be on 33rd Street, “right across from our headquarters, which is a huge bonus,” he said. “The fact that we were able to secure a piece of land right outside of our headquarters is absolutely extraordinary. This is a great success not only with the City of Doral, but with county planners and commissioners, our partners at the FAA, and representatives in Congress. A great example of our cooperation with
“The first part of the work will be the construction of quarters for our fellow service members without families who don’t live here with them,” he said. “We want to take care of them the most. They are the weakest from the economic point of view. We will build their houses by 2026. Simultaneously, we will start moving forward with other parts of the development, and will eventually complete it by 2027.
Southern Command at 9301 NW 33rd St. held a ceremony to announce the construction of this housing complex. US Army Gen. Edward M. Daley, Commander, US Army Materiel Command, UP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Lieutenant Governor Janet Nunez, Doral Mayor Christy Fraga and other local leaders attended the conference on January 30.
“Sometimes it seems like the whole country wants to move to South Florida, which makes the housing market extremely competitive,” General Richardson said. “Such situations place a significant financial strain on our military members, where they, in some cases, pay hundreds of dollars more than they would receive for a housing allowance, or they commute more than an hour to live in the first place. The project will provide housing for approximately 200 military members and their families.