Regions Hampton Roads

Construction under way for modern Navy housing

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by Heather B. Hayes

A $336 million effort to provide better housing for single sailors has begun at Camp Allen and Camp Elmore in Norfolk and on five acres of vacant, Navy-owned land in Newport News.

The project will upgrade housing from the traditional barracks to “more of a modern, college suite-like arrangement, complete with amenities like you would find in a private, for-rent community,” such as clubhouses, spas and swimming pools, says Robin Vaughn, division head for public-private ventures at Hunt Development Group in El Paso, Texas.

The project will feature new housing at both installations. Camp Allen will gain 1,497 new beds in a midrise apartment building and another 870 new beds in manor-style residences. Camp Elmore also will get new manor-style residences boasting 120 units with two beds in each.

The developer of the project is Hampton Roads PPV LLC, a joint venture involving the Navy, Hunt Development and American Campus Communities in Austin, Texas. Hunt Development is providing construction management and development and design-build services. American Campus will serve as the property manager once construction is complete.

The Navy contributed $37 million toward the project and has an oversight role. Hunt Development raised the rest of the construction capital by issuing bonds. Housing allowances provided by the Navy to sailors will be used to retire the debt and pay operating expenses.

Vaughn notes that most of the building materials and labor will be supplied by Hampton Roads companies. “We’re a national company, but we rely almost exclusively on local labor pools,” he explains. “Almost all of the money that’s been budgeted will go to local electricians, masons, drywallers, roofers and other trades that will be needed to get this job done.”

In recent years, the Navy and other military services have privatized base housing. Hunt Development, for example, recently completed an overhaul of family housing at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.

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