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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 2:40 AM
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[SA] Construction Boom Begins at Fort Sam; Includes 300-Million shopping center


John Bann (left) and Michael Hartman, who are central figures in the transformation of Fort Sam Houston, discuss the construction projects.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/met...C.295fccf.html

Quote:
Fort Sam preparing for BRAC building boom

Web Posted: 01/04/2008 11:30 PM CST

Sig Christenson
Express-News

The roar of heavy trucks throbs like a bass line beneath the whining of hydraulic tools and the banging of hammers outside the McWethy Troop Medical Clinic at Fort Sam Houston. But the sound it produces is discordant, like an orchestra tuning up before a concert.

The metaphor is apt because the projects under way only are warm ups for the work that's about to begin.

Starting this month, Fort Sam will be hit by a construction wave the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Depression, thanks to the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

BRAC, as it's called, ordered 23 installations to shutter by 2011 and issued 2,513 closure recommendations, most of them mission realignments, but the news for San Antonio was mostly good. The fifth base closure round since 1988 will bring $1.56 billion in construction to Fort Sam alone.

In all, the closure round will pump about $2.1 billion into the post and a pair of Air Force bases. But nowhere will it be more pronounced than at Fort Sam, which will add 10,567 military, civilian and student personnel in the next three years.

The work already under way — an expansion of the troop clinic and renovation on the 1908 Station Hospital — isn't part of Fort Sam's massive BRAC buildup, the bulk of which will come in 2010 when 5,538 workers arrive at the post.

The long-awaited benefits of the closure round will begin in earnest once ground is broken on the post's first BRAC project, the $92 million Battlefield Health and Trauma Center. That will occur in a ceremony at 2 p.m. next Friday on Fort Sam's Parking Lot A, which has 273 spaces behind the Center for the Intrepid and two Fisher Houses.

Work will start within 90 days on a parking garage, two dorms, a dining facility and an instructional building.

In all, 23 projects are planned under the closure order, 19 of them new buildings with four others to be renovated on the old post, established in 1876. Another 32 buildings not tied to BRAC will be built or renovated.

The work will range from dorms and dining facilities to gyms and youth centers needed to accommodate the doubling of Fort Sam's daily student population as directed by BRAC from 4,500 today to 9,000 in 2011.

"There's going to be a tremendous amount of construction traffic," post spokesman Phil Reidinger said, "just because of the volume of construction and the types of buildings we are constructing, the compressed time frame for construction and the numbers of buildings."

Local leaders are celebrating Fort Sam's growth, but Reidinger warned it will bring headaches — particularly traffic snarls, lost parking and plenty of noise. The work will require a conductor to ensure that projects start and end on cue.

That job has fallen to Michael Hartman, who coordinates all BRAC actions planned for the post. He tracks every project, using dozens of color-coded flags on a large map in his office.

Juggling those projects will be tough enough when weather, always an unpredictable factor, is taken into consideration. Another logistical hurdle to overcome will be a divided Capitol Hill, which routinely squabbles over the budget past the start of the federal fiscal year in October.

"We build in a buffer and plan the projects to start generally in the second quarter, anticipating the length of time that it takes by the time the budget is approved and the money actually flows to the recipient, which would be us," he explained.

People on and off post will feel the impact of Fort Sam's construction boom this spring, but commanders hope to mitigate the worst aspects of its impact. They'll limit contractors and workers to specific routes on the post.

They've told companies to deliver construction materials in the wee hours of the day to prevent congestion on Interstates 10 and 35, U.S. 281 and Harry Wurzbach Road. Construction will run from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekend work is likely.

The BRAC commission made the post home for armed forces enlisted medical training. It will be done on the new Medical Education Training Campus, to include the Army Medical Department Center and School, already the Defense Department's largest medical training facility.

But the closure round actually accounts for less than half of all the work. A $300 million La Cantera-like shopping center on the drawing board will headline what's perhaps the most ambitious project unrelated to BRAC. Also planned are a PX complex makeover that could top $100 million and a new $20 million, 695-room privately run hotel.

The shopping center still is in the design stage, but Reidinger thinks construction could begin in about three years. Well before then, the Army this fall will launch a $251 million expansion of BAMC's existing emergency room and trauma complex.

BAMC's new six-story ER wing likely will include a rooftop helipad. The bigger ER will replace the Level 1 trauma center that has operated at Wilford Hall Medical Center on the city's South Side as the Air Force hospital is turned into a series of outpatient clinics.

Though not yet approved, the helipad is expected to win support from the Pentagon. Copters now land at a helipad in a small field across from BAMC, requiring an ambulance to transport patients to the hospital's ER.

"It's clearly designed to shorten the response time and minimize the number of times that patients are transported," Hartman said of the new helipad.

Amid this growth spurt on a post some a few years ago feared could wind up as a BRAC target, Fort Sam has one major concern. Does it have the stormwater and wastewater capacity of a post that will be home to nearly 36,000 military and civilian workers a day, up from 25,000?

Neither power nor water is an infrastructure concern. The post privatized its power system several years ago, and CPS has made upgrades since. Fort Sam also provides its own well water.

But three studies, all to start this year, will reveal if more water, sewer and drainage lines are needed for the expansion. It isn't clear how the Army will pay for improvements if they're needed. BRAC funding typically isn't used to pay for infrastructure improvements, Reidinger said, adding that the post might ask the city to participate in planning for any improvements.

"Where there's a mutual benefit to the city of San Antonio and the local community, we're certainly going to ask the city to help us," he said, adding the Army will find some way to pay for infrastructure work on the 3,000-acre post and won't ask the city to chip in. "That's called working together to improve the local infrastructure."
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 3:03 AM
Schertz1 Schertz1 is offline
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I hope some of the Sam growth spreads to the AT&T/coliseum area.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 5:10 AM
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Windcrest is planning for this to fuel the Walzem area further.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 6:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coddat View Post
Windcrest is planning for this to fuel the Walzem area further.
Windcrest is counting on this (Fort Sam/BRAC) and Rackspace to Windsor Park as the catalyst for their urban village development. More so Rackspace because they'll be adjacent to the land they're going to build on. I'd also look for private developers to start building off Broadway possibly as well as adding multifamily complexes in the Government Hill area. I'm not sure what the current zoning is or if any of it can be changed but the Government Hill area could possibly end up maybe looking similar to something like Dallas' Midtown in terms of apartment and townhomes not high rises. That is my own speculation of course but when you add that many people in an area (Fort Sam) that doesn't have nor could possibly support that many new people not to mention the jobs the new facilities will create, a lot of close to work/school housing needs to be put in place. The Government Hill area and Broadway corridor are two prime spots for that.

Last edited by sirkingwilliam; Jan 6, 2008 at 6:56 AM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 6:24 PM
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The 700-room hotel looks to be a Staybridge Suites and its location will be just north of the PX. We may get some decent height out of this as there isn't a terrible amount of land to build on. For comparison, the Sunset Station Staybridge Suites is 11-stories with 138 rooms. If they used the same footprint, 700-room hotel would be 55-stories but more than likely it'll be a 15-20 story structure.
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 6:24 PM
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My grandmother has a house in Government Hill, and she's selling in a year or so-- I expect a really awesome birthday gift next year!
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 6:45 PM
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An article from back in October, I'm not sure if it was posted then.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantoni...08/story6.html

Quote:
Local leaders eye viability of research park near Fort Sam

San Antonio Business Journal - by Catherine Dominguez

Now is the time and Fort Sam Houston is the place, say local leaders and researchers who are looking at the viability of establishing a research park near San Antonio's Army post.

The first step in that process is a study to determine if such a park could benefit the military, local academia and the private sector.

According to Ed Davis, assistant director for the city of San Antonio Economic Development Department, the city's Office of Military Affairs is working to submit a request to the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) for the funding of the study. Davis says the cost of the study is expected to be about $200,000 and completed by July 2008.

The OEA is the Department of Defense's primary source for providing technical and financial assistance to communities that are adversely affected by DoD program changes, including base closures or realignments, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations.

"There are a lot of neat things going on at Fort Sam Houston, and we think there are a lot of opportunities there," Davis says. "We need to do a study to flush this out a little bit and get a plan put together."

Specifically, local leaders see Fort Sam Houston's potential as a medical research hub, given the post's planned transformation under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision.

That decision calls for several realignments, including relocating the inpatient medical function of the 59th Medical Wing (Wilford Hall Medical Center) to the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. Wilford Hall Medical Center will be converted into an ambulatory care center.

"There is a lot of (research) that requires close proximity to the facilities on Fort Sam Houston," says York Duncan, president of the Texas Research Technology Foundation. "It's an important thing."

Duncan says that in light of the BRAC decision, now is the time to begin forming more partnerships between the local community and the military.

"We have a real interest in the commercialization of military technologies and to transfer technologies within the universities to the military," Duncan says. "It's kind of a university, public, private partnership that we have in mind."

Location is key

The idea for a research park was born out of the Military Transformation Task Force. The nonprofit group consists of committees of individuals representing local business, government, academia and more that focus on issues related to the impact of BRAC on both the city, county and military installations.

Duncan says there is a great deal of opportunity to transform some of the land both on and off the Army post with private monies to grow existing partnerships and develop new ones. He adds that the work that would be done at the new research park would not be that different than what goes currently is done at the Texas Research Park.

Founded in the early 1990s, Texas Research Park is owned by the TRTF.

The foundation is an innovation-based economic developer and supports the growth of the bioscience and tech-based industry. The Texas Research Park, which spans 1,200 acres on the city's far West Side, provides close to 450,000 square feet of infrastructure for enterprise formation and growth.

According to Duncan, due to the many changes scheduled for Fort Sam Houston, having a park in close proximity to the post just makes sense.
A strong foundation

Currently, Davis says, there are already partnerships in place between the military and the private and educational sector, but work at the new park would focus on medical research in trauma and the care the wounded receive at Brooke Army Medical Center.

"There is already a lot of partnering that goes on between the (military and the community) in trauma care and medical education," Davis says. "It is just going to get bigger. We see more opportunity there for partnering in the area of research and commercial applications."

Although the idea for the new research park is in its early stages, Duncan says it has garnered the support of many local leaders and researchers, including researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Duncan says the BRAC decision is creating many opportunities for both the community and the military in the health care research arena.

"There are a lot of things on the horizon that could make San Antonio a huge medical and science community," Duncan says. "We think we are headed down the right path."
Fort Sam Houston Research Park

What: Local leaders are working on securing funding for a study to determine the benefits of locating the park at the Army post.
Purpose: The park would focus on research in the trauma field and care for wounded soldiers.
Goal: To transfer technologies from the universities to the military and commercialize military technologies.
Projected cost of study: $200,000
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 8:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
The 700-room hotel looks to be a Staybridge Suites and its location will be just north of the PX. We may get some decent height out of this as there isn't a terrible amount of land to build on. For comparison, the Sunset Station Staybridge Suites is 11-stories with 138 rooms. If they used the same footprint, 700-room hotel would be 55-stories but more than likely it'll be a 15-20 story structure.
Even if it was 15-20 that would be great for the area, but yeah if it's 700 rooms it might go higher
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 8:39 PM
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Originally Posted by alexjon View Post
My grandmother has a house in Government Hill, and she's selling in a year or so-- I expect a really awesome birthday gift next year!
Whatever happened to grandma and the pictures? hahaha
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 11:54 PM
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The roar of heavy trucks throbs like a bass line beneath the whining of hydraulic tools and the banging of hammers outside the McWethy Troop Medical Clinic at Fort Sam Houston.
Coolest line evar!

695 rooms is huge, but I wonder about that price tag. 20 million for a highrise is cheap. I suppose it's possible for a 15 to 20-story building to be that much though, but it seems low. Does anyone know the general area at Fort Sam Houston where this would be? How big is the lot? That would be great to see a 20-story tower there. More to see on the way into San Antonio from the north err, east.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2008, 4:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ydoc14 View Post
Whatever happened to grandma and the pictures? hahaha
lol, she's too busy upgrading the house for sale
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
Coolest line evar!

695 rooms is huge, but I wonder about that price tag. 20 million for a highrise is cheap. I suppose it's possible for a 15 to 20-story building to be that much though, but it seems low. Does anyone know the general area at Fort Sam Houston where this would be? How big is the lot? That would be great to see a 20-story tower there. More to see on the way into San Antonio from the north err, east.
Here in Tucson, they are looking to build a 707 room sheraton in Downtown. It's projected to be 28-30 stories. Easily 300 ft high.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2008, 2:13 PM
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Also, the commissary on the post will go under a 20 million dollar upgrade and expansion.
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Old Posted Mar 3, 2010, 4:17 PM
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$80M Army and Air Force Exchange project set for Fort Sam

Bumping an old thread but it seems like we finally have more details:
from http://recenter.tamu.edu/mnews/newsS...NEWS&CID=50983
this was posted today -
Quote:
A 500,000-sf, $80 million retail project, Army and Air Force Exchange Service facility will provide retail, food and entertainment venues for active and retired military personnel.

The facility is slated to open in 2013.

Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group will serve as developer, leasing agent and property manager for the project.
doesn't answer too many questions but here is what they built on Fort Bliss and is set to open this fall -
Quote:
In October 2010, AAFES will open a new 500,000 square foot “Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss.” This is a first of a kind Lifestyle Center which will include a large AAFES Main Exchange, sit down casual dining, a multi screen movie theater with first run movies, and a variety of third party retail offerings similar to any off-installation mall, but with a small town, Main Street feel.


the 500K sq. ft. (for them, and possibly Ft. Sam) includes expansion of the PX and Commissary.

This was posted in Bizjournals.com on Nov. 20, 2009.
Quote:
Freedom Crossing likely is the first of several similar-size projects at other military installations, Jordan said. AAFES has said that when Freedom Crossing opens next fall, it will serve as a model for proposed retail developments at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Wash.
Total construction cost was $105 for Fort Bliss/Freedom Crossing.
The $80mil doesn't include $8mil that was used for commissary expansion/upgrades that were completed recently.
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Last edited by miaht82; Mar 3, 2010 at 4:33 PM.
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