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FORT BENNING, GA-In one of the most ambitious new and redeveloped military housing projects ever attempted in the Southeast, Fort Benning Family Communities LLC has broken ground on the first $467-million phase of an anticipated $600-million undertaking at Fort Benning and Camp Frank D. Merrill at Dahlonega.

The project will take 10 years to complete and includes the demolition of 2,110 outdated homes, the construction of 2,377 new apartments and homes, and the renovation of 1,560 historic and non-historic residences. The March 22 ground-breaking ceremony was at McGraw Manor, the first of 11 neighborhoods to be redeveloped as part of the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative at Fort Benning.

About 90 full-time employees have been hired from the Columbus region to work on the project, according to Phil Cowley, a development executive with Clark Realty of Bethesda, MD, one of the project’s partners. “In addition to the improved quality of life for military families, the Fort Benning housing initiative will have a positive effect on the local economies,” Cowley says in a prepared statement.

Fort Benning Family Communities LLC is a partnership between Clark Pinnacle and the Army. Pinnacle is a division of Seattle-based American Management Services Co. Clark Realty Capital and affiliates will manage the development, design and construction of the project. Pinnacle will provide property management services. When the entire development and redevelopment is completed in 2016, Clark Pinnacle will continue to manage an end-state inventory of 4,200 homes throughout the remaining 40 years of the Army’s ongoing development program.

Torti Gallas and Partners of Silver Spring, MD will provide the design and land planning for the new homes. 2WR Andras Architects of Columbus will oversee renovation designs for existing homes and design the new family housing Welcome Center.

The Army, Navy and Marines also have selected Clark, a 100-year-old company, to build or renovate about 25,000 military homes with an aggregate development value of over $4.2 billion, according to Clark’s Cowley.