Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have noted on a number of occasions in the past that Eglin AFB will be on the eyes of the country for a number of reasons. Recently, the Air Force has started to be a little more open on the future plans for this area and will try to be more open on future new programs being planned so our local business community leaders can plan . As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's, I do get the privilege to be part of conversations, which outline the future here. Without losing their trust with some of the information, I also inform developers and builders know that this is a great area for growth. READ ON BELOW

New missions to bring more military personnel, civilian jobs
Mona Moore
2009-12-11 09:45:50

Base realignment and closure measures have become the base’s version of a stimulus program.
Col. Bruce McClintock, commander of the 96th Air Base Wing, shared the good news Friday in a media briefing he plans to make a monthly tradition.
“It’s a different economic environment and we’re growing. We’re opening the doors to jobs for our shared community,” he said.
McClintock announced what he called an era of growth. The base will increase in population, offer more jobs and improve housing.
With the drawdown of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin’s population has been on a two-year decline that ended in November. More than 1,000 base personnel changed stations.
Over the next six years, the population is expected to increase by more than 6,200, thanks to the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the Joint Strike Fighter training school.
Preparations for the new missions include an increase in civilian jobs, from carpenters to engineers. McClintock said the new opportunities were already starting. A quick search of Eglin positions on USAjobs.gov produced more than 1,000 results.
Planning for the growth has been in the works since the announcement of the BRAC-initiated missions. The base finally is at the hiring stage of the plans, McClintock said.
“For example, by 2012, we will need 42 additional civil engineer personnel,” he said. “It’s important to communicate that’s 42 more people we’ll be able to hire because of BRAC.”
Those numbers could increase if the base receives more than the initial 59 F-35 jets. Eglin is one of 11 bases still under consideration.
Other bases being considered include the Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Idaho; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; and Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station, Ariz.
The Air Force also named six candidates for operational bases. Jacksonville International Airport, the only other Florida location on the lists, could house 18 jets with the Florida National Air Guard Station, said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Air Force used previously announced basing criteria such as airspace, flight training ranges, weather and support facilities to develop the list. In addition, McClintock said the Air Force will consider support the mission has in the community.
“The biggest indication is how the community’s responding to issues. Are they willing to accommodate the mission?” McClintock said.
McClintock’s briefing also included an update on the base’s housing solutions. Efforts to privatize housing have stalled three times since 2005.
The base’s original plans fizzled because of Hurricane Ivan and the increasing costs of construction, then were met with disfavor when sites at Camp Pinchot and Poquito Bayou were included.
Last year’s attempt to place all housing on Eglin’s main base was canceled because of the supplemental environmental impact statement for the Joint Strike Fighter.
McClintock then decided to invest more than $13 million to renovate existing housing and recreation. The plan started this year with $7.5 million in improvements.
“We’ve got to stop waiting for housing and improve the housing we have,” he said.
Renovations include $1.2 million to replace fixtures in 574 homes and a $5 million budget request to do more extensive renovations to 100 homes.
Playground renovations, new bike paths and running tracks are also in the works.

Monday, December 28, 2009


The following is an excerpt from the local newspaper at Fort Bragg. Some notes to gather from this is, one, 2010 is the "home stretch" and "completion deadline" is 2011. The word from the powers to be is, they want their soldiers in place in the new Army Base by May 2011. Reason: Get the families involved in the community and kids ready for the next school year.

Published: 09:31 PM, Sun Dec 27, 2009
Buzz on BRAC: On track as we enter a new year
Henry Cuningham

Two of the biggest remaining BRAC projects for Fort Bragg seem to be on track as we enter 2010. The coming year is approaching the "home stretch" before the 2011 completion deadline. The 2005 Base Closure and Realignment law gave the Defense Department six years to complete the programs. The $292 million headquarters complex for Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command is where it needs to be on the road to completion, said Dan Davis, resident engineer for the project for the Army Corps of Engineers.
"We are scheduled to be 42 percent, and we are at 42 percent," Davis said.
The contractor, Hensel Phelps, put the final steel beam in place earlier this month. Prefabricated panels give the appearance of rapid progress. The four-star and three-star commands are moving to Fort Bragg from Fort McPherson in Atlanta. The other big project involves people leaving Fort Bragg. That's the 7th Special Forces Group's move to Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Fla.. Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said he has made several trips to check progress, and construction is maybe even ahead of schedule. "There's no question in my mind that five or six years from now it will be the envy of Army Special Forces," he said. "They are going to have all-new ranges tailored for their needs." He said his two biggest concerns are ensuring that the unit is able to continue doing its military job - "because the mission doesn't go away" - and that the move goes smoothly for family members. The 7th Group is making combat rotations to Afghanistan while taking care of its responsibilities in Latin America, its traditional area of operations. The group has about 2,000 soldiers and 4,000-plus family members. "It's sizeable for us, small in the context of BRAC and Bragg and other units moving around," Mulholland said.Got a tip or a question on BRAC? Contact military editor Henry Cuningham at cuninghamh@fayobserver.com or 486-3585.


If you are a developer and have not got your eye on just the military construction money getting ready to start immediately, you just might miss the boat. The below is just an example of the construction in the U.S. by the Air Force. The other services are sure to follow. You can see that most of this is in the U.S. because of the emphasis of moving our military folks back to the states.

AF’s construction budget to nearly double
By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 28, 2009 6:50:17 EST

About $2.4 billion is headed to the Air Force for new or better dormitories, fitness centers, training centers, control towers and runways.
The service’s slice of fiscal 2010 military construction funds includes $1.45 billion for the active-duty force, $371 million for the Air National Guard, $112 million for the Reserve and $475 million for key bases in Afghanistan. The Air Force’s fiscal 2009 share was $1.12 billion for the active force, $243 million for the Guard and $37 million for the Reserve.
For all the services, the military construction budget is $13.5 billion. About $11.8 billion will go to the active-duty components.
The totals do not include money set aside for family housing construction, base realignment and closure, and study, planning, design and engineering services for future projects.
Final approval of the funds came Dec. 13, when the Senate passed the 2010 consolidated appropriations bill. President Barack Obama also must sign off on the measure.
A glance at a handful of the Air Force’s higher price-tag projects:
* $109 million for a basic training classroom and dining complex and recruit dormitory at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
* $84.2 million for F-35 Lightning structures and a 96-room dormitory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
* $65 million for a close-air support apron and an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance apron at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan.
* $61 million for a cargo helicopter apron and a tactical airlift apron at Kandahar.
* $60 million for work on a multi-use complex at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
* $43 million for air base development at Palanquero Air Base, Colombia.
* $41.9 million for combat search-and-rescue HC-130J Hercules structures and a 144-room dormitory at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
* $37.5 million for an unmanned aerial system formal training unit at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
* $27 million for an information technology complex at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
* $26 million for a Guard F-22 Raptor low observable/composite repair center at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
* $23.5 million for a fitness center at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
* $21.2 million to expand U.S. Air Forces Central headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
* $20.3 million for taxiway repairs at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.
* $17.6 million to expand the Cadet Fitness Center at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
* $16 million for a 120-room dormitory at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
* $14.5 million to expand the deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
* $13.8 million for a cargo terminal at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
* $12.6 million for an F-22 Raptor weapons load training center at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
* $10 million for missile procedures training operations at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


As I noted is previous emails, the use of this land by the Air Force will be a major draw for our area.

A new military resort is coming to Okaloosa Island
Mona Moore
2009-12-24 15:16:05
EGLIN AFB — Innisfree Hotels Inc., has been pegged to develop and operate Emerald Breeze Resort Group, Eglin’s proposed 17-acre military resort on Okaloosa Island.
Innisfree Development will develop the resort and Innisfree Hotels will manage the hotel.
Innisfree owns the Holiday Inn Express and Hilton Garden Inn in Orange Beach, Ala., and the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front and Hampton Inn on Pensacola Beach.
Innisfree has partnered with DCK Corp., the general contractor for the project, according to a news release the company issued Wednesday.
“I think these days, in this economy, to see something moving forward is pretty exciting,” said Jim Breitenfeld of the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County.
The resort will be a commercial hotel open to the public but that will caters to military members. Innisfree intends to offer thousands of room nights at deeply discounted rates for retired and active-duty military members from all branches of the service.
“The Emerald Breeze will introduce the Emerald Coast community to airmen, soldiers and sailors who may otherwise not have had to opportunity to vacation here, enhancing economic impact,” said Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis, commander of the Air Armament Center at Eglin. “Emerald Breeze will provide first-class, affordable resort accommodations to our military members and their families. We are pleased our cooperative efforts are providing a venue to increase morale opportunities for our warriors and their families.”
The Air Force presented its Emerald Breeze Resort proposal last January as the best use for Test Site A-5 next to the Sheraton Four Points hotel.
Part of the resort’s roof will be secured and reserved for military receivers, sensor equipment and offices to keep the test site operational.
The first phase of the resort will feature a beachfront pool, 150 rooms and two commercial spaces that will be available for lease. Future phases include at least 100 additional rooms. With 600 feet on the Gulf of Mexico, the resort will also offer direct beach access.
Alternative energy and other green features would be required “wherever feasible,” according to the Air Force’s plan.
The proposed $24 million development is expected to have a significant economic impact for Okaloosa County, according to Larry Sassano, president of the county’s Economic Development Council.
“The Air Force's Emerald Breeze Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) project will help create close to $50 million in economic impact for Okaloosa County and the surrounding areas,” Sassano said in the news release. “This 17-acre parcel is located along some of the most pristine beaches in Northwest Florida.”
The EUL Program is a major part of the Air Force Real Property Agency’s (AFRPA) mission to manage, acquire and dispose of Air Force real property worldwide.
Similar military lodges exist at Walt Disney World in Orlando, on Waikiki in Hawaii and in the German Alps.
The development will be Eglin’s third ELU program. The Mid-Bay Bridge and the Northwest Regional Airport expansions were also a part of the program.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


There is some good news in the home buildling horizon for the upcoming new year and with the help of our county leaders we will benefit both directly and indirectly. I believe you could say the glass is half full and not have empty. Especially in our area, when we have the world's eyes on on area and the defense of our county depending on it.

November housing construction up 8.9 percent WASHINGTON (AP) – Dec. 16, 2009 – Construction of new homes, helped by better weather, rebounded in the U.S. in November following a setback in the previous month.The gain is a hopeful sign that the housing recovery is continuing, a development viewed as critical to lifting the overall economy out of recession.The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments rose 8.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 574,000 units. The gain represented strength in all areas of the country although the increase was slightly lower than economists had expected.Applications for new building permits were also up, rising 6 percent to an annual rate of 584,000 units, a stronger showing than economists predicted.Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger, AP economics writer


I recommend we continue to not only follow folks coming with the Army to our areq, but the folks with Hensel Phelps and the a number of other area contractors who are bringing a large number of construction folks, who should be here to stay for quite some time. It is my opinion, if you were to be an informed consumer and as some have said, we use our two ears and one mouth, and we listen twice as much as with speak, we will find a lot more prosperity on the horizon, which will require us to act NOW.

Special Forces complex taking shape (with aerial photo gallery)
John Parrott
2009-12-04 12:27:31
From State Road 85, there is little indication a massive construction project is underway to build the future home of the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces group coming to Crestview.
Scrub oak and pine are interspersed west of State Road 85 and south of Shoal River, much as it has been for the past 30 years.
The only visible clue that something is afoot is a new asphalt road west of the traffic light at Duke Field.
Visitors who drive a little more than four miles down that road, however, are confronted with a square mile of heavy construction that includes everything from two 200-foot-tall, quarter-million-gallon water tanks, to a 150,000-square-foot administration building which, when finished, will become headquarters for the 7th Special Forces.
That building is flanked by four massive 200,000-square-foot buildings, which will serve as battalion headquarters for support personnel. A phalanx of smaller buildings is peppered all around the vast construction site.
Plans include four 96-bed dormitories for unmarried soldiers, along with amenities such as a mini mall, outlying shops, a dining facility, chapel and a small medical clinic.
There is a lot to be done and little time to do it, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manger John Krishack.
“We understand the timeline that we are under,” Krishack said. “And it is for that reason we want things ready for the first boots to hit the ground sometime around April 2011 because the first guys here will have to be the communications types who will have to set up post communications.”
Nearly 500 men and machines are working to convert 500 acres of former woodland into a modern concrete and steel military cantonment that will have a little of everything.
Gulf Power is building an adjacent substation that will provide power for the facility, and two deep wells will provide an independent water supply for the post.
A sewer line is being laid to the west and then south to connect to the new transfer station in Shalimar.
“We will have the entire infrastructure up and running by the time the first wave arrives,” Krishack said.
Although four out of five of the members of the 7th Special Forces are married, plans do not include family housing. That decision was made early on with the knowledge there is more than adequate family housing available in Crestview, officials said.
That’s good news for the local real estate market, which is not nearly as flat in other areas around the state, local Remax realtor Brett House said.
“We’ve already closed on one house that is directly tied to the 7th Special Forces move and we anticipate a lot more in the very near future,” House said.
The arrival of the Army unit could also help offset an anticipated drop in customers at the Crestview Walmart when the chain opens a store in Niceville in 2011.
“We’ve enjoyed a good solid relationship from our Niceville customers and the 7th Special Forces guys and their families may help pick up those expected losses,” said Crestview Walmart Manager Pat Riley said.
Crestview Mayor David Cadle was even more optimistic about the arrival of 2,800 army troops and their families.
“We’ve been looking for that moment for a long time,” Cadle said. “Our entire team, the chamber of commerce, business and civic leaders have worked tirelessly toward making them feel at home, and that’s what we intend to do.”
The project has not been without controversy. Critics have questioned why no local contractors were hired to help build the massive cantonment just outside Crestview’s city limits.
“Basically it is such a large and complicated construction job, it requires the acumen and financial backing of contractors who could assume the enormous financial risks,” Krishack said. “For that reason, small construction companies were excluded. They simply could not meet the statutory financial requirements.”
There are strict guidelines that govern the contract selection and bid-award process. Bidding companies must prove they have available resources to assume the job, and must further prove they are in a financial position that eliminates the possibility of bankruptcy or default, Krishack said.
Very few small construction companies have the expertise or workforce to manage those kinds of resources, Krishack said, adding that it is extremely difficult for small companies to compete on large-dollar contracts simply because the risks are so great.
Hensel–Phelps Construction Company was awarded the $300-million contract. The company has consistently been rated among the top 10 general contractors in the United States for the past 25 years.
Local contractors will be able to hire on as subcontractors during phase two of the project, which is reserved for small businesses, Krishack said.
Roughly 1,200 local contract personnel will be offered jobs during the second phase of construction, which is expected to wrap up in April or May of 2011, Krishack said.

Friday, December 4, 2009


If you have been following my Blog, you will now see how important the North Part of Okaloosa County will become for the military in their growth for the future with the official ground breaking of the SR 85-123 Interchange. Not only have we been talking about it, the local, state, and federal government is putting their money where their mouth is, as well? Great job folks. In the next few years, we will become a mecca for international activity which will be seen around the globe. If you can get on this ride of this growth, you surely enjoy being part of something great.

Crist breaks ground for SR 85-123 interchange
Angel McCurdy
2009-12-03 19:48:29
Several small piles of dirt outside the Northwest Florida Regional Airport on Thursday signified the beginning of one of the largest transportation projects in Okaloosa County.
Gov. Charlie Crist dug in the first gold shovel to kick off construction of an interchange at State Road 85 and State Road 123 near the airport to relieve congestion and improve safety.
Since the project was proposed in 2005, local officials worked to get construction started, thinking the project would begin in 2012. But with federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made available to Florida, the Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization pushed for an earlier schedule.
“We made this a top priority,” said Fort Walton Beach City Councilman Bill Garvie, chairman of the TPO. “It’s the most important thing for our area with troops coming in and for general safety on the road.”
The $32.4 million project is scheduled to be completed in April 2012.
In addition to interchange, work will include widening SR 85 to six lanes between General Bond Boulevard and the airport.
“The reconstruction is all about jobs, boosting the local economy and providing much-needed transportation improvements in the region,” Crist said. “Thanks to this project, Florida’s roads will be safer and less congested for families, businesses and tourists.”
Crist was joined by Florida Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelousos and Col. William S. Porter Jr. of Eglin Air Force Base.
“With Eglin going through mission changes, this project is great for the community and for Eglin,” Porter said of the Army 7th Special Forces (Airborne) making their way to a new home south of Crestview in 2011. “This is the proverbial ‘win-win’ situation for everyone.”
An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people will move to area when the Special Forces group arrives.
According to DOT district spokesman Tommie Speights, more than 30,000 drivers a day travel through the SR 85-123 intersection.
“The congestion here in the area was causing issues not only on the roadway, but at the airport,” Speights said. “It was important on the project list to improve safety.”
Utility and drainage work near the intersection began in late summer.
During construction, no lane closures will be permitted on northbound SR 85 between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. or on southbound SR 85 between 6 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“We are focused to make sure people can go to where they need to go and get to where they need to get when they need to get there,” Crist said. “These improvements will get us there.”