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NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA-The US Army and the military housing division of locally based GMH Communities Trust officially entered into a $445-million housing development project at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX and White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruses, NM. In May 2004, the Army selected GMH to finalize the plans for the 50-year term of the Fort Bliss and White Sands Project. The total value of the project is expected to be approximately $1.5 billion.

The finalized plans include this six-year initial development period. In partnership with the Army, GMH will design, build, manage and maintain the military housing at the two installations under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, authorized by Congress in 1966. It allows the Departments of Defense and Army, via their Residential Communities Initiative Office of the assistant secretary of the Army for installations and environment, to work with the private sector to upgrade the quality of family housing and maintain and operate it.

In all, this project includes new construction and renovation of more than 3,200 residences at the two Army installations along with additional amenities, such as recreational areas and community centers. The family housing assets are leveraged with private investment to accomplish housing construction goals faster and at a lower cost than military construction.

As with other GMH military housing contracts, the company will use existing alliances with Oklahoma City-based Benham Cos. architectural and engineering firm and Dallas-based Centex Construction Co. Throughout the project’s 50-year term, GMH will earn management, construction, renovation and development fees as well as equity returns on its invested capital. Bruce Robinson, president of GMH’s military housing division, says the company will work with staffs at both installations and the RCI staff on the project.

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