Cannon solicits contractors for housing privatization

By Airman 1st Class Jette Warnick: 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

In order to comply with the DOD directive that all Air Force Bases are to have housing privatization, Cannon has joined with several bases from the Northern United States in negotiating contracts to solicit civilian contractors.

Because at one time Cannon was slated for closure, efforts to transfer management of housing from military to civilian contractors were halted, said Marianne Long, housing privatization project manager, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron. This is a reason why Cannon is among the last group of bases to commit to housing privatization.

In order for housing privatization to be cost effective, the occupancy rate needs to be at 95 percent or higher, said Long. This is one of the reasons the project was put on hold last year. The Air Force wanted to step back and take another look to make sure that too many houses weren’t being built, she said.

Each base analyzes housing requirements, which determines how many homes are available within a 60-mile radius of the base for military members to live, said Long. If there isn’t enough local housing available, officials then determine how many houses the base would need to build to supplement what is available in the local area.

“The whole idea is to get the Air Force out of the business of maintaining and doing property management for base housing,” she said. “This allows the wing commander to focus more on the mission and the base.”

Managing the homes would be turned over to a professional housing management organization, said Long.

“It’s not just the developer as a builder, it’s also property management,” she said. “Even though it’s a partnership with the Air Force and the developer over a 50-year-span, most of the day-to-day housing affairs will be on the developer, the project owner, and their housing management team.”

The group of bases Cannon has joined, the Northern Group, is scheduled to meet at the end of the month to put together a Request for Qualifications, said Tim Farmer, base housing flight chief, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron. This is a contractual document used to solicit contractors to bid on the project.

“It’s a quality of life issue for airmen,” said Farmer. “There hasn’t been any military construction or housing money, for the most part, spent on big projects at Cannon since the early 1990s. We need to get the houses upgraded, renovated, and build new homes.”

The number of units scheduled to be built is somewhere around 1,030, said Farmer, but this number could change; depending on what the assessment says is needed.