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Newer, larger homes ready for D-M families

Structures will be managed for 50 years by a private firm

Theron Lord and his wife, Melissa, like their new two-story, three-bedroom home on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Theron Lord and his wife, Melissa, like their new two-story, three-bedroom home on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Tech. Sgt. Theron Lord and his wife, Melissa, couldn’t stop smiling Monday after they got a first look inside their new home on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The Lords, who live in a cinderblock home built in the 1950s, will be among the first families to move into hundreds of new homes planned for the base. The Lords will get their duplex shortly after the first of the year, when the base expects to have 22 homes ready.

“This is far better than I expected,” said Theron, who is a liaison between base residents and the private firm that is managing D-M housing.

Nashville-based Actus Lend Lease bought all of D-M’s housing in 2007. Since then, under a $700 million nationwide military housing privatization program launched in 1996, the company has torn down about 300 of the 1,224 homes, said Ryan Kleinau, project manager for Actus subsidiary Soaring Heights Communities.

Soaring Heights will manage the new homes, which are a far cry from the 1,000-square-foot older ones, Kleinau said.

“Now they’re getting homes that will be, at a minimum, 1,630 square feet,” he said.

Soaring Heights will manage the properties for 50 years. About 870 housing units will eventually be demolished and 573 built. About 350 homes will be renovated.

As landlord, Soaring Heights will go above and beyond the call of duty, by some standards. The company will maintain all front-yard landscaping (backyards are the responsibility of residents), hold monthly parties for kids and occasional movie or bowling parties and even change exterior light bulbs.

Next year the company will build a community center for residents, Kleinau said.

The new homes feature kitchens with islands, master bathrooms with dual sinks and ceiling fans in every room.

Melissa Lord put the new home’s garage high on the list of improvements. Their current home has a carport, leaving no good place for her bicycle.

“Right now it’s in the living room,” she said.

Soaring Heights will holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 6 for the new homes. About 50 families should be moved in by the end of January, said property manager Fred Zibell.

Construction crews work on new homes at the base. A  ribbon-cutting ceremony for the homes will be held Jan. 6. About 50  families should be moved in by the end of January.

Construction crews work on new homes at the base. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the homes will be held Jan. 6. About 50 families should be moved in by the end of January.

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