The News: Military-Housing Outlook

Bruce Robinson, president & CEO of Balfour Beatty Communities L.L.C.—a developer and operator of military privatization housing projects for the Army, Navy and Air Force—talked recently about military-housing trends and the sector’s 2009 outlook.CPN: Have any amenities become must-haves in military housing?Robinson: Community centers are a big plus, a place where Cub Scout meetings and other community events are held. These centers are very well received. Also, in family housing, a lot of storage space is necessary because military families move around a lot, and they tend to accumulate a lot of stuff.CPN: Will there be a great deal of military housing development in 2009?Robinson: The family housing projects for the Army and Navy are all finished. The Air Force has some projects that should be put out for proposal for 2009. They are for two, three or four bases, as their bases are smaller than Army and Navy bases. We are hopeful that, with the success of the family-housing projects, the Army and Navy may do the same for unaccompanied soldier and sailor housing. There have been some pilot projects done for unaccompanied soldiers, which have been successful.CPN: Has the credit crunch negatively affected military-housing development?Robinson: To finance our military developments, we sell long-term bonds. The problem today is that no one is buying bonds. There is a specialized buyer for these (long-term) bonds, such as insurance companies, and they have a hearty appetite for them, but today, buyers are holding back. We’re hopeful they will start buying again when things settle down.