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Meriwether housing opens

Division’s four-bedroom, two-car garage units exceed standards set for junior enlisted service members

28th Public Affairs Detachment

Published: 04:06PM August 16th, 2012
Meriwether housing opens

Sgt. Micah Vandyke

Local leaders and dignitaries cut a ribbon Aug. 6 to celebrate the opening of the Meriwether Landing housing area at JBLM, Lewis North.

Meriwether Landing set a precedent on Joint Base Lewis-McChord as the first on-base neighborhood to be shared by officers and enlisted service members.

Installation officials and a few of its first residents cut a ceremonial ribbon Aug. 6 at the grand opening of JBLM’s newest housing area. Though families will begin moving in soon to the Lewis North neighborhood, its four subdivisions won’t be complete until fall.

“Today is not only a celebration of the efforts by everyone on the team — Equity Residential, Lincoln Properties, the JBLM team — but also a celebration of a significant milestone in taking care of our service members,” Greta Powell, chief of Residential Communities Division in the Directorate of Public Works, said.

The area is named Meriwether Landing after Capt. Meriwether Lewis, one of JBLM’s namesakes whose 1804-to-1806 expedition with William Clark opened the way to the Pacific Northwest. Its subdivisions are named after members of their Corps of Discovery expedition. Even the street names honor the explorers’ achievement by invoking the animals Lewis and Clark encountered — names like “Nighthawk Street.”

The attention to historical detail is an example of the close coordination among JBLM garrison command, Equity Residential, and Lincoln Properties Company.

“This is a great partnership between the U.S. Army, as the lead element, with Equity Residential and Lincoln Properties and over the last three years the partnership has grown and become stronger,” Col. Thomas H. Brittain, the day before he relinquished JBLM command, said. “This is one of the products of that partnership; high quality housing for service members. I’m very proud to have been a part of it and very pleased to see this happen before I left command.”

Todd Vasko, managing director of Lewis-McChord Communities, said he was excited to see the hard work benefit service members.

“This development site is the perfect example of how a privatization partnership with the military should work,” Vesko said. “We’ve combined our forces and built a fantastic product that will be our model of development going forward.”

Many military families attended, toured the model homes and asked Powell for information.

“Every family I speak to is very excited for the opportunity to live some place that feels like home; it feels like, this is my home, this is my neighborhood, this is my community,” Powell said. “I’m invested in it, which is what our partnership envisioned from the beginning.”

The partnership also improved the floor plans for junior enlisted service members by including four-bedroom homes with two-car garages, exceeding the standard for junior enlisted homes.

“This is very important because it recognizes a promise we’ve made to our service men and women who go and fight our nation’s wars,” Powell said. “The promise is that we’re going to provide them with quality housing options, both on and off-base, we work very hard with our community partners off-base to provide really terrific options and we want to provide those same wonderful options here at JBLM.”