The number one strategic outcome of the current U.S. Army Installations Strategy is to attract, retain and take care of its people. The condition of Army facilities is central, given that housing and dining facilities are critical components of Soldiers’ experienced quality of life.
The U.S. Army is working to identify solutions to improve and modernize housing conditions and fulfill a housing demand that exists for junior enlisted soldiers living on-base. Strategic housing partners are bringing innovative ideas and expertise to help solve these unique housing needs. The work includes new buildings or renovations that incorporate more modern designs and energy efficiencies. All efforts support the Army’s most critical asset – its people.
A Serious Investment
Housing is central to preparedness on-base, it is also a way to attract and maintain talent and is a priority to ensure soldiers are provided the best possible quality of life. The appeal of living off-base can be enticing, however, choosing to live on-base brings many advantages like affordability, enhanced amenities, and the convenience of being closer to work and physical training. It also means being part of the military community among a group of peers that have shared common values and experiences. This built-in community is key to a soldier’s success and general well-being.
Providing the type of housing and common spaces to help reinforce the military community takes a well-thought-out vision, detailed planning, driven leadership, and a focus on the long-term benefits to residents. It also takes a serious investment of time and money.
The Army, on average, is investing a billion dollars annually to renovate housing. It is an investment with clear benefits: talent retention, care for people, and support for overall resiliency and readiness goals.
However, that investment will not be enough to provide all the options required for single-soldier housing. As a result, private partners are stepping up to help with solutions of their own.
“Our people deserve quality housing and desirable housing options. We are collaborating ... with partners to invest more than a billion dollars of funds in more housing renovations and new development.” - Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army.
Supporting Single Soldiers with On-Base Apartments
The idea of apartments on-base is gaining traction. While not widespread, privatized apartments have been built on military installations and have been proven to be successful. Helping to fill the demand, military apartments provide an alternative for unaccompanied soldiers, geo-bachelors, or those on temporary duty.
One such success story is the Reece Crossings apartment community located within Fort Meade, Maryland. Corvias developed this first-of-its-kind 432-unit military apartment community in 2012 under the authorities granted by the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI). The $292 million complex was designed as the first garden-style apartment complex developed for the Army. Today, at almost full occupancy, Reece Crossings boasts a near perfect resident satisfaction rating.
This project followed green development principles and utilized Low Impact Development (LID) and Energy Star guidelines. The 38-acre site even includes advanced stormwater management systems like bioretention, rain gardens, and landscape infiltration. Solar panels were also added to the project to offset about 14% of the total electricity consumed by the community.
The apartments at Reece Crossings attracts single soldiers with their robust amenities, short-term lease options, and affordable rent which includes all utilities and cable. The facilities include a total quality-of-life-package, including a community swimming pool, communal gathering areas, a fitness center, volleyball and basketball courts, and community paths. Residents also enjoy enhanced on-site maintenance services and complimentary furniture packages. In addition, safety measures such as secure storage facilities and an on-site management team provide peace of mind for residents. By utilizing a comprehensive approach to this innovative project, Corvias was able to enhance the housing options at Fort Meade and help strengthen the local Army community.
Housing Solutions for Unaccompanied Soldiers
Corvias’ Randolph Pointe, a 432-unit apartment community for senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and geo-bachelors at Fort Liberty is another example of a solution for housing needs. It provides a one-bedroom housing option on-base.
A high priority for this development was to balance the feeling of living in a market-rate property with the pride and convenience of being on the installation. Corvias created a culture within the Randolph Pointe area that welcomes a diverse population of leaders focused on mission-critical operations. The additional benefits and amenities create opportunities for these officers to connect and unwind from their high-stress day-to-day roles.
In addition to high-quality housing, the community includes shared amenities in a centrally located 6,500 square foot clubhouse. This facility provides residents with a place to work out, check email, and submit maintenance requests. Indoor amenities include a multipurpose room, fully equipped weightlifting and cardio spaces, locker rooms, a lounge with flat-screen television and kitchen, a business center, and staff offices.
Outdoor amenities range from a swimming pool with lap lanes, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and outdoor grilling areas. These amenities, along with an on-site operations and maintenance team, are available to all residents of Randolph Pointe. The Corvias team even hosts several events throughout the year, to commemorate holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving luncheon, end of year holiday party), fun milestones (e.g., National Pie Day, National Grilled Cheese Day), and more to further engage service members, while providing value-added fun.
According to the latest findings from the tenant satisfaction survey conducted by CEL & Associates, Inc., Randolph Pointe has received excellent feedback from its residents. The survey evaluated various aspects such as customer service, property operations, and maintenance. Randolph Pointe has earned the highest possible rating of “Outstanding” in CEL’s comprehensive eight-tier scoring system.
Contemporary Solution to Existing Housing
The initial experiments of Reece Crossings and Randolph Pointe have provided great options for unaccompanied housing. These success stories preview the type of support that private MHPI partners can provide to help the military meet its housing needs.
These projects demonstrate that modern apartment communities can improve the overall quality of life for the military. With higher morale, preparedness, and retention rates among soldiers, there is considerable evidence to suggest that new apartment communities could be a contemporary solution to aging housing infrastructure.
To learn more about community housing solutions visit www.corvias.com.