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NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA-Following its previously announced selection to enter into exclusive negotiations for the US Navy’s Southeast Region military housing privatization project, GMH Communities Trust has acquired an ownership interest in the project, which encompasses 11 naval bases in five states. As a result, the locally based specialty REIT’s military housing division has begun providing property management and maintenance services at the project’s locations and will begin receiving fees for the operations.

This is a middle step in the process of obtaining the contract to design and construct 5,501 end-state housing units on the bases. “We are still negotiating the financial components with the Department of the Navy, which should be completed over the next couple of months,” a GMH spokeswoman tells

As with other public/private ventures under the military’s privatization housing programs, funding comes from a combination of private debt; subordinated debt from the military service, which in this case is the Navy; private equity; interest earnings and excess cash flow. Not all of the funding is spent at the start of construction, which accounts for the interest earnings.

This represents one of the largest public/private-venture military housing initiatives to date. It is for a 50-year term that begins with a six-year initial development period that is valued at in excess of $700 million.

The locations are: Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, SC; Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, GA; Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL; Naval Station, Mayport, FL; Naval Air Station, Key West, FL; Naval Support Activity, Panama City, FL; Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL; Naval Air Station, Whiting Field, FL; Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS, Naval Air Station, Meridian, MS, and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth.

With this agreement, GMH’s military housing division now operates 11 military housing privatization initiatives, including the Navy Northeast Region project. It has also partnered with the departments of the Army and Air Force. Congress authorized the military housing privatization initiative in 1996. It allows the Department of Defense and Department of the Navy to work with the private sector in upgrading and operating military housing.

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