Humphreys Family Communities LLC
Multi-story buildings will house enlisted personnel and families.

In the military's first stab at privatized housing at an overseas base, the U.S. Army has selected a U.S.-Korea joint venture for a $1.3-billion project to build at least 2,400 residential units for enlisted personnel and families at a base south of Seoul, South Korea.

The project, to be financed totally through American and Asian banks, will allow the Army to relocate up to 44,000 troops and family members now stationed at the 600-acre Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. The South Korean government wants to redevelop the well-located site, with proceeds aimed at funding the country's half of the estimated $10-billion US Army relocation cost, according to local media reports. Many relocation project political, contractual and financial details remain controversial and unclear. CH2M Hill Cos., Denver was selected last year to be program manager for all relocation construction.

Selected to design, build, finance and operate the Army's housing project at Camp Humphreys near Pyeongtaek, the joint venture led by Pinnacle AMS Development Co. LLC, an Irvine, Calif developer with military housing experience.

Also on the team are Seoul-based Samsung C&T Corp. and another veteran military housing builder, Hunt Cos., El Paso. The Army says it is now negotiating project details and costs with the team. The team will also own and manage the residences for 50 years.

Army officials note that bidding for the project was "highly competitive," but did not disclose names of other competititors. According to one project official, three other teams made it to the bidding finals but were not successful. They were led by Bovis Lend Lease and Balfour Beatty, with an all-Korean team led by Hyundai, he says.

The planned housing community will include about 2,400 units, each with three to five bedrooms, to be built in high-rise and mid-rise structures on two parcels totaling 144 acres, says M. Scott Orrantia, managing director of Pinnacle AMS Development. It will also include community and retail facilities.

The Army selected the privatized approach because of tight deadlines to complete the troop relocation from Seoul. It was originally set for completion this year but has been delayed because of logistical problems and protests from the Pyeongtaek community. The new target for completion is 2012, but that date could lapse to 2016, according to reports in the South Korean press. "The Army is on a tight relocation schedule and traditional military construction of this housing was not a viable option," says Keith Eastin, assistant army secretary.

Orrantia says that the project's financing is being underwritten by a financial consortium that includes Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank. He says the team expects to be "lining up both debt and equity financing" for the project after negotiations with the Army finish in a few months. Orrantia expects to wrap up the financing process by next May.

Also now under way is procurement of a U.S. contract to fill the Camp Humphrey housing site, a former rice paddy, with an estimated 11 million cu yd of fill, says Bill Van Wagonen, CH2M Hill program manager. Proposals for that project's first phase are due Nov. 26.