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PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Junior enlisted and their families at the Presidio of Monterey will soon be enjoying brand new digs with construction of an $80 million, 44 acre housing project in the Ord Military Community which commenced Jan. 14.

The project, located in the Lower Stilwell community of OMC near Seaside, will bring 100 homes for service members in the grades of E1-E4. The community, which expects its first residents to move into the new single family duplex homes by mid-2022, will also provide recreation facilities and a green, walkable community.

Garrison Commander Col. Varman Chhoeung called today’s ground breaking a “big deal.”

“I can assure you that the [Residential Community Initiative] partnership has come a long way in improving the lives of our service members and their families,” Chhoeung said during the ceremony.

Oscar Ordonez, the Presidio’s chief of housing, who once lived in the legacy housing as a young Soldier stationed at the former Fort Ord, said the new homes are not simply better for the health and welfare of the family, but for their pocket books too, as the basic allowance for housing for an E4 with dependents caps at $2,418.

“The average cost of a three bedroom home is $3,300 in the cities of Seaside, Marina and Monterey. The average cost of a four bedroom is about $3,500,” said Ordonez.

Ordonez emphasized that the Presidio’s housing, which provides the home and utilities for the cost of a service members BAH comes out to be $1,000 cheaper on average than a rental on the local economy, many of which are closer in age to the Presidio’s legacy homes than its modern ones.

He added that the new homes will also incorporate space for studying, an important feature for the future residents, as most will be learning languages at the Defense Language Institute.

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Chhoeung stated that the Presidio’s partnership in the RCI program since the early 2000s has netted the installation 1100 new homes, 240 renovations and a host of community facilities. RCI has, with minimal military investment, transformed much of the shuttered Fort Ord’s legacy housing into modern, state-of-the-art residences. The homes in the Lower Stilwell construction will replace houses built from 1958 to 1962. Additionally, the $80 million for the construction came at no additional cost to the Army.

“This phase of construction, like the previous phases, relies upon no direct government investment,” said Ted Lim, project director. “This is a product of seven years of cash flow from operations; we’re investing profits back into the partnership.”

Lim added that the neighborhood will also be the Presidio’s first all-electric neighbor, and the homes will be certified “silver” under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – a green building standard focused on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. The LEED Silver standard means the houses will be approximately 30 percent more energy efficient than the average home.

“Adhering to the LEED Silver standard will allow us to reduce costs in the long run, while also minimizing the carbon footprint of our neighborhoods,” Lim said.

Ordonez said that as the Army oversight for the Presidio’s housing, he and his team will ensure all the new housing will meet all safety and health standards.

“It’s great to finally see, all these years later, that these houses are coming down, and that we’re putting up new, modern housing,” said Ordonez. “This would not be the case if it weren’t for privatization – that’s a fact.”

RCI is a public-private partnership between the Army and seven housing management companies across 49 different locations, and manages a housing stock of more than 87,000 homes.

Funding dependent, this is just the first phase in a cycle of modernization projects aimed at revitalizing housing in the Monterey Bay area, as the construction of 50 more homes in the Ord Military Community is expected in 2023, followed by another 60 homes in La Mesa village in 2026.