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HARRISON TOWNSHIP, MI-Developers and government contractors are invited to attend the Industry Forum, hosted by the US Air Force, on how they can apply to lease property for new development on the 3,000-acre Selfridge Air National Guard Base.The forum will be June 26.

Since most of the Army presence at the base is being moved due to the Base Realignment and Closure Committee by September 2008, most of the land at the base will be turned over to the Air Force. However, in an attempt to reuse some of the land, and because of laws prohibiting the Air Force from running certain types of establishments, developers are being asked to lease about 670 acres on the base. The property is broken up into three sections on the northeast, southwest and southeast corners of the base, and includes a 170-acre golf course.

Peter Swanson, project manager, says that the first 103-acre zone would be available for office or R&D use, another 200-acre zone could hold industrial uses. The final zone, along Lake St. Clair, would be good for an adult multifamily community project, and would include the golf course and historic military housing.

The property is being offered through the Army’s Enhanced Use Leasing program, which allows the military to lease base property. The military will continue to own the property, and will lease the land for 50 years. The lease revenue would be given back to the base for operations.

Bob Penn, program director with the Department of the Army, says the barbed-wire fence that surrounds the base will stay in place. “Developers selected will likely be government contractors,” Penn tells GlobeSt.com. “They’ll get a badge to get in the gate similar to how normal contractors do. These will likely be companies that don’t mind the security aspect.”

It remains to be seen if there is demand for government contract development at the base, as the north Macomb County area is not known for having an active industrial market or military support companies. However, Penn says he believes there will be interest. “Demand is emerging there,” he says. “We also think the ability to reuse the housing could be attractive to military retirees.”

The base was opened in 1917 and was expanded after World War II, but was deactivated as an active base and transferred to the Michigan Air National Guard in 1971. Currently, there are 383 buildings on the base with 1.2 million square yards of military runway.

The military has hired the Metis Group LLC and New York City-based Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services LLC as advisors on the project. The companies are forbidden from participating in the developer bids. After the June 26 meeting, businesses would have 30 days to submit proposals for redevelopment.

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