Freedom Crossing, Groundbreaking marks start of construction for most happening place in DoD
July 17, 2009
FORT BLISS, Texas - Fort Bliss and Army & Air Force Exchange Service officials celebrated a historic event July 17 during a groundbreaking ceremony for the first-of-its-kind retail development in the Department of Defense that will be constructed inside a military installation.
"Today marks the beginning of a new beginning," said Maj. Gen. Keith L. Thurgood, AAFES commander. "Today is the day that we make a difference. Today is the foundation of a legacy that very few will participate and look back and say we were part of something big. We were part of history. It's an opportunity for us together to be part of something big, elite and historical. Today we are fulfilling our promise to our troops and their families that we will improve their quality of life. Fort Bliss has a very bright future. We are honored to be here to build this facility that will belong to Fort Bliss troops and their families."
The Freedom Crossing development was created in an effort to better serve the influx of Soldiers and families at Fort Bliss. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service and ServiceStar Development Company joined forces to create the development, which will allow national, regional and local retailers to operate privately inside the military installation.
Fort Bliss patrons will be able to shop, enjoy a nice sit-down dinner and walk over to the theater to watch newly released movies without having to drive off post.
The shopping, entertainment and dining development is more than 500,000 square-feet and will sit on 53 acres. It will include national name-brand retail stores, casual and fast-food dining, a 10-screen multiplex movie theater and more. Fountains, lush landscaping and comfortable outdoor seating will also be part of the complex, and the Post Exchange will double in size to meet the growing needs of the installation. Construction of the facility will take about 18 months, and will employ approximately 800 people.
At the end of the event, Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Fort Bliss commander, thanked the audience for the great partnerships, opportunities and support they offer the Bliss Soldiers and their families.