HFC to Develop, Manage and Finance First Privatized Overseas Military Housing

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorPyeongtaek, Republic of Korea—In a move that will mark the first time that private-sector developers, builders, managers and capital providers will create military housing on foreign land, the Department of the Army has chosen Humphreys Family Communities LLC (HFC) to design, build, finance and operate the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Housing Opportunity Project in the Republic of Korea.HFC is a joint venture between Irvine, Calif.-based Pinnacle AMS Development Company LLC; El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Companies; and Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung C&T Corporation. “Designing, building and maintaining housing is not [the DoD’s] core mission. The cost to build and maintain homes for military families—and the expertise to do it in a manner that is consistent with the private sector—wasn’t available,” Scott Orrantia, managing director and partner, Pinnacle AMS, tells MHN, explaining that the DoD first began privatizing military housing in the United States 12 years ago. “The Department of Defense (DoD) is utilizing many of the same fundamental principles of how we structure privatized housing and trying to export it outside the U.S.”Designed by MVE & Partners, S.A.M.O.O., and Heerim—the latter two companies are based in Seoul—the  $1.3 billion community, which is located in a rural area approximately 55 miles south of Seoul, will include low-, mid- and high-rise residential buildings, community facilities, retail, sub-grade parking, parks and athletic fields. The majority of the residential component will be located in 17- to 20-story towers, explains Orrantia. “This is definitely a new and unique project for military families,” he says, adding that much of the development around Seoul is high-rise, due to the scarcity of land.The community, which is a 50-year public-private venture, will provide approximately 2,400 homes for military families assigned to USAG Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, ROK. The project will offer three-, four- and five-bedroom residences, ranging in size from 2,000 to 2,500 sq. ft. The current military overseas housing allowance (OHA) for families in Seoul is approximately $3,400 per month.In addition, the development will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Though Orrantia is not yet sure at what level, he says that a preliminary analysis shows the project may be able to achieve a LEED Silver rating.Construction on the site is expected to begin in June 2009, with military families expected to begin moving in by 2012.Financing for the project is being underwritten and managed by Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.