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Officials readying for Eielson F-35s to spur housing crunch

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Officials in Alaska are preparing for a possible housing crunch in 2020 that is expected to coincide with an influx of service members tied to the two new F-35 squadrons coming to Eielson Air Force Base.


The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports one part of Fairbanks North Star Borough is estimated to need 800 units of housing by fall 2021.

Air Force estimates say the F-35s will boost the population by 3,500 residents.

Col. Richard Cole says apartments are needed most.

"We need one-bedroom one-bath apartments, we need two-bedroom apartments and we need three-bedroom apartments," he said.

An F-35 Lightning II flies around the airspace of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 5, 2016.

Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Brandon Shapiro/Air Force

Military and local officials are working together to build interest from developers and investors, especially from North Pole to an area between Salcha and Harding Lake.

The Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. is hosting a Housing Summit on March 9 for builders, bankers and local officials. Corporation president Jim Dodson says the summit will provide information on Air Force needs, available land and possible bank loans.

"Make it easy. That is the idea," Dodson said.

Cole said the military is not currently planning to add housing at Eielson. Eielson's has 900 housing units, 800 of which are full with roughly 100 more under renovation.

North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward said he hopes the growth from Eielson boosts the economy for the 2,200-resident community.

"They need places to eat. They need places to shop," Ward said. "It is definitely an economic opportunity and one we are definitely excited about."

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