Privatized housing at McConnell moves ahead

Picerne Military Housing of East Greenwich, R.I., has been selected to manage and improve the military housing at McConnell Air Force Base.

When the deal closes in October, the Air Force will convey to Picerne 441 homes at McConnell and lease the underlying land for 50 years, according to a news release Tuesday. The project is part of the six-base Continental Group Housing Privatization project.

The purpose of the Air Force's housing privatization program is to provide military families access to quality, affordable, well-maintained housing in a community on each installation.

Most of the McConnell homes were built in 1958, except 102 units in the Spicer division built in 1993.

Officials at McConnell did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Sen. Jerry Moran praised the deal in a Tuesday statement.

"McConnell's airmen and women and their families will soon be assured the modern, quality housing they deserve," he said.

Picerne will build 173 homes and renovate 191 others, according to Moran's office. The company also will build a neighborhood center with a pool and other recreational and community facilities throughout McConnell.

Picerne will provide all development, operations and maintenance, property management, construction, renovation and demolition services.

McConnell is the company's first Air Force housing project. Picerne is a partner is the Army's residential community initiative at Fort Riley and six other bases around the country, Moran's office said.

The Air Force has awarded 27 projects at 44 installations, totaling 37,851 homes, or 70 percent of all Air Force housing in the continental United States and its territories.

Within the next year, the Air Force expects to complete the privatization of 100 percent of its military housing.

In addition to McConnell, the Continental Group Housing Privatization Project includes Edwards AFB in California, Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field in Florida, Eielson AFB in Alaska and Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.

The Air Force initially will turn over 3,739 homes at the six installations, then turn over 368 more homes under construction at Eielson and Seymour Johnson.

The privatization is the latest development in a 12-year-old program that has allowed the Air Force to redirect most of its old housing budget into weapons systems, research and development, training and logistics, McConnell officials said in October.

Savings nationwide is estimated at $7 billion.