Grand Forks Air Force Base housing goes private Aug. 1

Herald Staff Report

Military housing at Grand Forks Air Force Base will be turned over to private property management Aug. 1.

Under the plan, Pennsylvania-based Balfour Beatty Communities will assume operations of Grand Forks Family Housing from the U.S. government under a 50-year lease.

“We couldn’t be more excited to begin operations for family housing,” Susan Michael, Community Manager for Balfour Beatty Communities at the Grand Forks base, said in a news release.

The base will host a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Community Activity Center to explain the process to base residents.

The 319th Air Base Wing currently has about 1,200 airmen.

Balfour Betty will hold 50-year title on and manage 4,761 housing units in the Air Force’s Northern Group, including 547 at Grand Forks.

The Northern Group includes six bases: Grand Forks, Minot and Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota; Ellsworth in South Dakota; Cannon in New Mexico; and Mountain Home in Idaho.

Under the privatization program, Balfour Beatty will take over development, maintenance, and management of family homes, grounds, and infrastructure of housing at the base.

The conversion originally was scheduled to take place by July 2012. However, several delays pushed the date back to this summer.

The overall Northern Group deal, valued at $468.9 million, provides new and renovated housing for 4,761 military families using only $7.4 million in appropriated funds.

Although the property will be privately owned, it will continue to be exempt from property taxes. The Grand Forks County Commission approved the tax-exempt status last year.

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