USFK celebrates opening of new housing era
SEOUL — U.S. Forces Korea reached another milestone in its ongoing transformation Thursday when officials opened the command’s first build-to-lease housing unit at K-16 Air Base.
Officials from the 8th U.S. Army; Installation Management Command, Korea; and the Department of the Army were on hand for the opening ceremony.
“What this means for our soldiers is state-of-the-art living quarters,” said Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, regional director of IMCOM-K. “It means peace of mind. It means increased mission responsiveness. It means home.”
Carol Jones, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan housing division chief, said it also means a 50 percent reduction in housing costs.
The $20 million project was built and paid for by Korean contracting company SP Sungnam, a joint-venture between Seohee Construction and Baum Architects. Under the terms of their agreement with USFK, the contractor owns and maintains the building and the military will lease it for about $3.5 million a year for 15 years. When the contract ends, there is an option to renew for 15 years.
She added that the yearly overseas housing allowance for warrant officers, who will make up the bulk of the new building’s residents, is about $40,000.
There are now 103 officers living in the building, with more expected by the end of the month.
The building can house 144 soldiers, each with his own kitchen, bathroom and Internet and cable connections. It also has a parking structure, barbecue area, gazebos and bike parking. Officers who’ve lived off-base at K-16 for more than six months aren’t required to move back onto base, Jones said. Instead, the building is filling with new arrivals.