by Thea Skinner
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
Three 21st Space Wing families were bestowed the first in a series of modernized field grade officer homes here Aug. 3.
Thirty-one new homes in the first series of residences were developed to improve quality of life, foster community spirit and an enhanced work-life balance for families living on base.
“Creating a neighborhood bond is something that every development requires. Whether inside the gates or outside — in a development or not in a development — it is a good thing,” said Meryl Large, Actus Lend Lease marketing manager.
This new housing project is the result of a partnership between Actus Lend Lease and the U.S. Air Force, under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative of 1996. Throughout a six year development period, Actus Lend Lease will produce 597 modernized three and four bedroom homes along with renovations to 54 existing homes. Under the partnership Tierra Vista Communities will develop, build, renovate, finance, and maintain the homes until 2057.
“There are many more milestones to come. This is the largest quality of life project on Peterson Air Force Base for the next five years,” said Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander. “Today, we have 493 existing homes on base. We are growing to 652 homes on base over the next five years. All but 55 of those are going to brand new homes, so you are going to see a lot of demolition going on as well. The homes are 20 to 40 percent bigger than the homes that we currently live in today. For the next five years, every month we are going to get another 30 homes, so this is just the beginning of a long term quality of life issue for Peterson Air Force Base.”
Colonel Raymond also said that Peterson’s new housing development was one of the largest constructions projects to recently occur in Colorado Springs.
According to Ms. Large, an estimated $27.1 million out of $49.3 million in the company’s funds were paid to Colorado Springs area businesses that contributed to constructing the new homes on base. The money to construct the homes will be paid back to the company through Airmen’s basic allowance for housing.
As project owner, Actus Lend Lease is also developing homes at two other Air Force installations; Terra Vista Communities is the project company operating as an LLC on Peterson, Schriever and Los Angeles Air Force bases. In September 2007, the base transitioned from military housing to the commercial partnership, and home construction began in July 2007.
The efforts of the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron and Tierra Vista Communities developed the energy efficient design and landscaping of the homes.
As planned, the development also provides a central neighborhood facility with a community center near the housing office along with a splash park in 2013.
“We will have town hall meetings, potlucks and playgrounds with walking trails throughout the community,” Ms. Large said. The development is “designed to promote interaction so that people meet their neighbors — giving another outlet to promote that bond and facilitate relationships within the residents themselves.”
All the homes contain foyers, separate living and dining areas, energy efficient appliances, home office space with technology niches, increased storage space, spacious kitchens with islands, and covered porches.
Once the development project is complete in 2013 it will span 198 acres on base, and another series of homes will go online in mid August and Sept. 1, Ms. Large said.
Three families accepted the keys to their new homes Monday, and were slated to begin moving in the same day.