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WASHINGTON, DC-With the BRAC commission’s votes confirming the US Department Defense’s decision to close Hampton, VA’s Fort Monroe and Washington, DC’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center, local real estate players mull the reuse options for the large properties.”Without a doubt, Fort Monroe is one of the most unique and beautiful properties in the area,” Tom Waltz, director at Drucker & Falk, tells GlobeSt.com. Fort Monroe occupies approximately 600 acres surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. “It already has its own marina; you can see the carriers go by on their way to Norfolk.”

Waltz speaks with authority on the issue of the land’s potential, as his firm spearheaded the redevelopment of the historic Chamberlin hotel at Fort Monroe into a retirement complex. “We looked at Chamberlin and realized that the guards at the gate with M16s were a deterrent, so we decided to turn a negative into a positive; those in the retirement community appreciate the security at the gate, they feel safer.” He adds, “It’s such a unique piece of property that it has all kinds of uses–mixed-use, residential, high-rise residential.”

Washington, DC-based Walter Reed sits on a 100-acre parcel in a one of the tightest office markets in the country. As with other military communities, most in the area lament the base’s closing, but many see the impending de-installation as a rare opportunity for highly sought-after commercial development in a city with a limited stable of developable land. Kevin Wayer of Jones Lang LaSalle–which is presently working with Walter Reed officials on military housing privatization–highlights the upside, noting that Walter Reed’s easily accessible location in a predominantly residential neighborhood and the strong demand for housing could translate into large multifamily projects, and possibly, mixed-use developments.

“This is a gem of a site in an infill location, Wayer tells GlobeSt.com. “There are historic buildings on the property so there could be office development there, and retail would be useful given the residential location and its great access to Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.” He anticipates there will be no shortage of eager developers. “Capital will underwrite this,” he says. “There will be a strong interest in redeveloping given DC’s strong market and the infill location.”

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