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Fort Monroe Retains Real Estate Partnership
May 17, 2010 5:34 pm US/Eastern
HAMPTON, Va. (AP) ― The state authority preparing for the Army's move out of Fort Monroe has retained a private real estate partnership to manage nearly 2 million square feet of housing and office space and a 332-slip marina.
For many military families who live on the historic base, the agreement announced Monday means they can continue to live there once the military leaves in September 2011.
The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority has retained two local companies to create a joint venture called Old Point Comfort Real Estate Services.
The partnership will lease, manage and advise the authority on the future use of 292 residential units, 760,000-square-feet of office space, 96,000 square feet of storage and industrial use and 325,000 square feet of community and recreational buildings.
The Army is scheduled to leave the historic fort on the Chesapeake Bay next year, when Virginia will assume ownership of the post.
The Army's Training and Doctrine Command, the primary command at Fort Monroe, is moving to Fort Eustis in Newport News. Other elements of the closing base will be moved to Fort Lee in Petersburg and Fort Knox in Kentucky.
About half the housing units — apartments, single-family homes and duplexes — are used by families affiliated with the Training and Doctrine Command. These families would continue to live at Fort Monroe.
"Fort Monroe's current residents will have the first opportunity to sign leases on the family housing they are living in now, so they can continue to enjoy the lifestyle of Fort Monroe after the site transitions from U.S. Army installation to state enclave," said Bill Armbruster, executive director of the Fort Monroe authority.
"They have that option. We will simply become the landlord instead of the Army," he said.
Other military families from Hampton Roads could seek Fort Monroe housing left vacant by families destined to move to Fort Lee or Fort Knox.
The real estate partnership would also manage other elements of the base's transformation, including the marina.
"We're trying to avoid the empty building syndrome that goes with base closings," Armbruster said in an interview. "We've got to make this place pay for itself."
The authority has sketched out a future use as a teacher institute that would draw on the post's Civil War heritage.
Potential partners include the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Virginia Living Museum, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Hampton History Museum, Museum of the Confederacy and the Virginia War Museum.
The six-sided, 63-acre fortress sealed by 1.3 miles of granite is the last active moated fort in the U.S. The property includes 264 government buildings and housing, and a majority of the buildings are deemed historic.
Fort Monroe has been called the "Gibraltar of the Chesapeake."
The real estate partnership will be compensated through commissions and fees based on property managed.
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