CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) — C annon Air Force Base is finalizing plans for a major overhaul of base housing that should help ease a shortage of affordable housing in the Clovis area.
The plans are part of a $470 million deal approved by the U.S. Air Force this week to provide new and renovated housing for 4,761 military families at six bases.
At Cannon, 677 new homes will be built and 361 existing homes in Chavez West will be renovated. In order to generate space for the new units, 401 homes will be demolished in Joe Cannon housing and Chavez Manor. Ultimately, the project will result in a total of 1,038 homes in Joe Cannon Estates and Chavez housing area, a net gain of about 300 homes.
The plans are being finalized at a time when the area has seen a shortage in affordable housing. Local officials says the Air Force housing should do a little to alleviate that by offering airmen more modern housing on base, freeing up some rentals in town.
Mayor Gayla Blumfeld said the net gain in housing won’t be huge, but that every little bit helps.
While much of the country has been experiencing housing gluts due to the foreclosure crisis, this town has had the opposite problem as energy and other companies have set up shop in recent years.
“We probably run 98 percent occupancy. It’s tight,” Blumfeld said.
Builders have begun to address the demand, she said.
“What has been such a need is rentals,” Blumfeld said. “People have stepped up. They are building more duplexes and triplexes. And we are waiting to hear on a 200-unit apartment complex. That’s huge for a town our size.”
A developer is also renovating an old hotel in town, which she said will give the town of 38,000 about 60 new affordable housing units.
1st Lt. Raymond P. Gobberg said that while base housing runs pretty full, not all of the units have been available and most of the stock is in desperate need of updating. Because of that, some airmen prefer to rent in town.
“This installation been around since the ’50s,” he said, noting that in 2005 it was put on the list of bases targeted for possible closure.
“So for a time, infrastructure was not a priority. Now it is a No. 1 priority so we are really going to put some time and money into airmen’s quality of life.”
The new homes being built will all have three or four bedrooms, two-car garages and at least 1,680 square feet of living space. Construction is scheduled to be completed by spring 2015.
The base will also get a new community center with swimming pool in the Chavez housing area, neighborhood center with splash-park in the Joe Cannon Estates housing area, new playgrounds, volleyball courts, lighted tennis courts and walking trails.