JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C.- –
Since Forest City Military Communities began the Joint Base Charleston - Air Base privatized housing construction project in Oct. 2011, more than 265 units and a new community center have been completed.
The project, which calls for construction of 335 new homes on the Air Base, is on schedule for completion by August 2013.
"More military members are choosing to live on base because of the new homes," said Stephen Campbell, 628th Civil Engineering Squadron Capital Asset Management Element chief. "Most people prefer living in a new home with new amenities and new appliances. Now that we can offer that to our Airmen, it is a huge incentive to live on base ... not to mention the drive to work is only a few blocks."
The new community center, featuring a business center, fitness center, kitchen, activity center, showers, locker rooms and two housing management offices, opened March 29, 2013.
"We have always had playgrounds on the base, but we've never had a community center until now," Campbell said. "One of the nicest parts about the community center is the activity center which can be reserved for get-togethers or parties with a $250 deposit. The community center also allows tenants to have a peaceful place to hang out and watch T.V.
Community centers are amenities offered at most off-base communities, but not many are 5,696 square feet."
The new homes are replacing older houses which were constructed in the 1960's, and ranged from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet compared to the new homes which range in size from 1,700 to 2,200 square feet, Campbell said.
"Although the older houses were well maintained, they were outdated and were too small compared to what is available in today's housing market," he said. "The new homes offer less energy consumption through new appliances, and more living space. The older homes, which featured a carport, are not as popular as the new homes and their two car garages."
Seventy more homes are still scheduled for completion and the construction is not affected by current budget constraints, since privatized housing requires tenants to make monthly payments to Forest City, instead of forfeiting their entire Basic Allowance for Housing, Campbell said.
"Since the housing is privatized, the construction project is funded by Forest City and the rent that is collected from the tenants," Campbell said. "The next phase, which is set to be completed by July 2013, includes 22 junior, noncommissioned officer houses on the north side of the base. Once those are completed, the project will focus on completing the remaining houses for senior NCOs, field grade officers and company grade officers."
According to Campbell, Forest City is currently discussing building a dog park for community use, a children's park on the south side of the base close to the community center and an outdoor basketball court.
"Housing privatization has been a joint endeavor with Forest City and has been a tremendous success in giving our military members new housing," Campbell said. "Our military members are pleased with the new units. The units are bigger, have an open floor plan and everything in them is new. We have received only positive feedback and have heard the tenants are extremely happy."
For more information regarding living on base, contact Forest City Military Communities at 552-0600.